Indeed, there is no clear definition of the term ‘nanotechnology’. At the moment, the very existence of nanomaterial and nanotechnology is a variety of opinions, attitudes and creates myths. One of the most popular explanations for the ordinary inhabitants is as follows: nanotechnology is a technology for manipulating matter at molecular and atomic level.
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Like any other phenomenon, the nano has created two opposing views: The first is that nanotechnology is our future, our development, and the second states that the nano is just a temporary whim of scientists involved in taking money for their experiments, some fashion in the scientific world. But both these views are, in principle, wrong. With regard to development, nanotechnology is truly a new level of scientific knowledge that can bring real improvements in terms of production technology. However, at this point in some areas of science or the application of nanotechnology products could be harmful or not very convenient.
Nano technology is used in the following spheres:
Nanofood is food created with the help of nanotechnology, for example, in processing plants or housing, or creating the package. Such foods contain modified molecules, which give food to their unusual properties: for example, they can glow in the dark or unusual colors. With regard to benefits, there it is the main argument in favor. The point is that nanotechnology in the food formation improve its nutritional properties and do better. These products ideally suit to developing countries, as it is relatively inexpensive. Developed countries are also seeking to obtain such a useful and valuable product, because it used to monitor their health and development of nanotechnology may give the food a large number of vitamins and reduce the content of harmful substances in it (Rogers, 2007).
Here, the development of nanotechnology is everywhere. Scientists apply their development in various fields of medicine. Not so long ago, experts from the University of Michigan have created a completely new version of a vaccine against anthrax, of course, with the use of nanotechnology. They entered one of the pathogens in a particle, consisting of water, alcohol, soybean oil and some others, and this emulsion injected into the noses of test mice. As a result, the animals develop immunity to the disease. Advantage of such vaccine is that it may be introduced into an organism affected by spraying, without the syringe, and unpretentious in storage: it can be at room temperature.
Applied nanotechnology is used to strengthen the prosthesis. Scientists have invented nanowire, which strongly reinforce titanium implants. These prostheses are used in medicine to replace damaged bone. But muscles can not be firmly consolidated in the smooth surface of conventional titanium implant, so it had to change, and thus, once again from outside to invade the body. However, the coating of implants with nanowire titanium dioxide allowed solving this problem. Specialists of Schools of Pharmacy have established a three-dimensional model of cancer cells, coexisting with normal healthy cells. They were able to enter into such a model of special nanoparticles that are suitable for drug delivery. In the experiment modeled the interaction of cancer cells from normal tissues, which is defined by the position of the tumor within the brain. According to scientists in the future, such studies may lead to effective therapies for brain cancer (Uldrich, 2006).
Nanotechnology and our life
Scientists have created nanoparticles that can detect and show the amount of hydrogen peroxide in the body (it is known that cells in the early stages of the disease produce hydrogen peroxide). Such particles may some day be used as a universal diagnostic tool to detect any disease in its early stages. The synthesized nanoparticles in further studying this problem can help understand the role of hydrogen peroxide in the course of disease, as well as become a kind of diagnosis.
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Nanostructures have their specific properties. For example, nanoparticles of ceramics used in the preparation of paints for cars, which are resistant to all kinds of scratch, gold nanoparticles have a reddish tinge, nanoparticles of silver, to protect people against infections. Typically, these particles are created chemical method and contain a lot of impurities.
Attitudes to such technologies in the world in general are ambiguous. In Europe, nanotechnology is considered as a basis for the future of medicine, energy, information and environmental technologies (Uldrich, 2006).
Experts believe that nanotechnology will become the driving force behind the next industrial revolution, and will change our way of life. Research and development of nanotechnology are in a state of recovery in the pursuit of original and useful things, and then comes off as a tailor-made, very little is done to ensure that ensure public and environmental safety.
Dollars invested annually in research and development of nanotechnology is approximately 3 billion dollars, representing approximately one-third of the total number of public and private investment in nanotechnology in the world, – stated in a press release the International Center for Scholars Woodrow Wilson (Washington).
Nanotechnologies offer great potential benefits in improving almost all types of industrial products: computers, cars, clothing, food, medicines, batteries and much more.
The growing number of research reports and government cautions that created nanoparticles may be hazardous to human health and the environment, even though it was a bit of research about their toxicity, – said in a recent report of Vital Signs 2006-2007 Worldwatch Institute (Worldwatch Institute).
Nanotechnologies comprise a wide range of technologies to control the structure of matter at the level of atoms and molecules. Nanometer is one billionth share of meters, width of 10 adjacent hydrogen atoms, the thickness of a human hair is approximately 80 thousands of nanometers.
At a microscopic level, matter behaves differently than in our daily lives in this world, which dominates the classical physics of Newton.
In nanoworld «properties of matter are determined by a complex and rich combination of classical physics and quantum mechanics», – said in an exclusive online edition of Scientific American for January 2006.
Also, large quantities of tiny nanosubstance can have enormous power because of their greatly increased surface area of the relationship to the volume.
«With the decrease value of the particles and the growth of their reactivity, a substance which may be inert in the micro or macro scale, can become dangerous properties in nanoscale», – reported in Vital Signs 2006-2007.
Under the complex of developed nanosubstances it is meant that their impact will depend on more than just the chemistry, only one microscopic nanoparticle size could allow them to more easily penetrate and infect human organs. The fact that the substance of nanoscale may have extraordinary properties – properties that is inconsistent with the «capital» physics and chemistry – can be a potential threat.
Researchers are not sure how to safely work with new nanosubstances, the nanocompanies just do not know how to create safe products, and public confidence in these new technologies, risks being undermined, head of developing nanotechnology (Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies ).
According to Maynard, there is a need for international coordination: «It should find ways to harmonize research, sharing the costs and sharing of information between countries and economic regions» (Jones, 2008).
Maynard pointed out that the industry has a commercial purpose which is to sell products, and the results of their research are not always public. The most viable alternative system for research in industry is the system pursued by the Government.
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Andrew Maynard – Chief Scientific Advisor of developing nanotechnology is an initiative organized by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Pew Charitable Foundation in 2005, he created and July 19 in Washington, introduced a new report entitled «Nanotechnology: a strategy for research to examine the risks associated with it».
According to the report, the efforts made by the Federal Government of the United States are inadequate.
In the study of the impact of nanotechnology on the environment, safety and health, there is no strategic direction and consistency. This report is the first attempt to propose a draft systematic study of the potential dangers of nanotechnology.
The report presents the requirement of two important developments: (1) Change of direction and funding for studies of risk in favor of federal agencies with a clear mandate to monitor. (2) Approximate minimal government investment of 100 million dollars over the next two years, which will provide for critical studies on the treatment of danger (Jones, 2008).
According to Vital Signs 2006-2007, serious concerns are not limited to security issues and the impact on health: should be explored and more profound social and ethical implications.
Scientists argue that the world stands on the threshold of unprecedented change: new economy, almost human immortality and, in general, the transition to a new civilization.
In theory, nanotechnology can provide the physical immortality of man due to the fact that Nano medicine can indefinitely regenerate cells die. According to the forecasts of the journal Scientific American in the near future will be medical devices in the size of a postage stamp. They have to put on the wound. This device will hold a blood test; will determine what medications should be used.
Nanotechnology can make a revolution in agriculture. The molecular robots would be able to produce food, replacing agricultural crops and animals. For example, it is theoretically possible to produce milk from grass, bypassing the intermediate link – a cow. Nanotechnology can also stabilize the environment. New types of industry will not produce waste, poisoning the planet.
It should be noted that the global cost of nanotechnological projects now exceeds to 9 billion dollars a year. The share of the U.S. now accounts for about one-third of all global investment in nanotechnology. Other major players in this field are the European Union and Japan. Research in this area are also active in the former CIS countries, Australia, Canada, China, South Korea, Israel, Singapore, Brazil and Taiwan (Jones, 2008).
In addition to the pros this branch of science has a number of disadvantages. Terrorists and criminals who obtain access to nanotechnology, can cause considerable damage to society. Chemical and biological weapons will be more dangerous and less of it will be much easier. Firearms will be much more powerful – and homing bullets. Aerospace technology could be much lighter and better constructed with minimum or no metal, which makes detection of radar will be much more complicated.
New items and changes in the customary way of life can lead to undermining the foundations of society. For example, medical devices, which will be relatively easy to modify the structure of the brain or the stimulation of certain divisions to produce effects that simulate any form of mental activity, can form the basis of “nanotechnological drug addiction.”
Charles P., Jr. Poole , Frank J. Owens , Introduction to Nanotechnology, Wiley-Interscience; 1 edition, 2003.
Foster Lynn E. , Nanotechnology: Science, Innovation, and Opportunity, Prentice Hall PTR, 2005.
Jones Richard A. L. , Soft Machines: Nanotechnology and Life, Oxford University Press, USA; illustrated edition edition, 2008.
Ratner Mark A., Ratner Daniel , Nanotechnology: A Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea, Prentice Hall PTR, 2002.
Rogers Ben , Pennathur Sumita , Adams Jesse , Nanotechnology: Understanding Small Systems, CRC; 1 edition, 2007.
Uldrich Jack , Investing in Nanotechnology: Think Small. Win Big, Adams Media, 2006.