From self-cleaning windows to super energy efficient lighting, nanotechnology is revolutionizing the way we live.
Lighting has been an important aspect of our lives, of our existence.
Due to the awareness that the world is fast running out of fossil fuels and other natural sources of energy, the need for finding green and efficient lighting sources has become even more important.
CFL and LED or light emitting diodes lights are just two of the most common examples of green lighting sources.
However, as technology improves, and newer grounds are covered in science, the use of nanotechnology to further increase the efficiency of LED lighting has started looking more realistic.
LEDs were first discovered in the 1920s. They are semi-conductors that have the capability to change electricity into light. Once the light switch is turned on, electrons journey through an area with larger numbers to an area with lesser numbers, and release small pools of energy or photons (which is the lowest form of light).
The best part about LED lights is that they don’t release any heat unlike traditional tungsten bulbs.
So also, LED lighting uses only a small percentage of energy as required by regular bulbs and they don’t contain any toxic metals like mercury that are used in CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs. All this makes LED lights efficient, durable, and longer lasting.
LED Lighting Colors
You’ve probably seen LED lighting in colors like blue, green, yellow, and white. The color of the LED lights is dependent on the type of semiconductors used. Red colored LEDs were the first on the scene, followed by orange.
After many years, the most commonly used, blue LED lights used in mobiles, laptops, CD players, and other electronic appliances, were developed. However, the most important of all LED lights are the white LEDs.
There is no such thing as a true white LED. The white LED used is actually blue LED filtered through a coating of yellow phosphorus that emits faux-white light that has a perceptible bluish hue.
Experts believe that if white LEDs are paired with green LEDs, we should be able to get lighting in almost every visible color.
If a high performing green LED light can be developed, it would pave the way for high performing, energy efficient electronic devices like LED TVs, Computer monitors, and many others.
Unfortunately, green LEDs are a lot more difficult to develop than perceived. Ongoing researches in the US are aiming to create LEDs in green color, which would be at par with red/blue LEDs.
Nanotech LED Lighting
As explained above, passing electrons through nano semiconductors, also known as ‘quantum dots,’ emit light which has many applications in fields like biology, computers, medicine, solar heating, and lighting.
Perhaps, that is why there is a huge focus on related R&D and scientists are researching the use of different nanotechnologies to create more energy efficient LEDs.
Companies like Nanosys are using semiconductors of remote phosphorous to develop LEDs that turn blue light into a warmer shade of white that is similar to the currently used traditional white of fluorescent bulbs. The phosphorous used in this experiment is created from ‘nano-materials.’
Since human eyes are hyper-sensitive to the color green, the LEDs have an increased level of green to give us a false sense of brightness, without actually heightening the brightness level of the display.
This helps create an excellent picture quality, but by using only very little energy, making it the primary method to be employed in devices that have display panels.
This is promising news for those following the use of nanotechnology in various fields. With this attempt by Nanosys, the company believes it will be able to design LEDs in just about any color, which is going to be a huge leap forward from the currently used LED displays as well as in other electronic devices that emit stronger hues.
While the company has created many experimental LED bulbs, these LED quantum dots will firstly be used for TV and notebook displays to offer consumer a wider range of colors. However, a larger range of colors may lead to poor battery life, especially in case of laptops etc.
The day when nanocrystals can be ‘painted’ on flat surfaces to create paper-thin displays are not far!
Furthermore, not too far from now, we’ll be able to use LED to paint walls in colors of our choice, rather than actual paint. Yes, truly with use nanotech, life is only going to be more exciting and, dare we say, vibrantly colorful!]]>
Nanotechnology and energy have an important co-relation and scientists and engineers have been working tirelessly to develop newer and exciting technologies that have the ability to significantly improve quality of life globally.
Nanotechnology And Consumer Products
Manufacturers of several consumer products have already begun to develop and harness the immense benefits of nanotechnology to develop consumer products for improved efficiency, better performance, and reducing negative impact on the environment.
Benefits like these are motivating more and more manufacturers to investment finances in the research and development of the applications for their products using nanotech.
Old and new, many companies like BetaBatt, Inc., Oxane Materials etc, have already started using ‘nanomaterials’ to develop as well as improve on existing processes that are being used to trap, store, and transfer energy for use in consumer products.
Nanotechnology And Air Conditioning
The current buzz word in the air conditioning world is “NanoAir.” This revolutionary air treatment method uses nanotechnology to eliminate the need for using common refrigerants like CFC/HCFC that are commonly used by HVAC – heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration – industries.
Since NanoAir is based on harnessing energy using nanoparticles, it doesn’t need cooling/agents like fluorocarbon, thereby cutting down on carbon footprint by more than 50%. Moreover, toxic CO2 emissions are reduced as much as 57%. Once this technology becomes a standard, there’ll only be a huge upside to its use. Consumers will be able to save more, get more comfort, breathe in fresher, cleaner air inside and outside, and generally, enjoy a better quality of life.
NanoAir’s mechanism is based on having separate controls for moisture (humidity) and temperature. This ‘separation’ mechanism is the value proposition of the NanoAir system and studies have determined SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings of higher than 30, and EER or Energy Efficiency Ratings of around 25 as a result of this method.
NanoAir spells simplicity, whether it’s the parts, the system, the operation or the design. So much so that the air conditioning unit will be installed at almost the same or lower cost than the current systems. With Dias nanomaterials (Dias is the company working on this project) for internal components, the system will also use regular HVAC parts and a supply of drinkable water. The NanoAir system will contribute heavily to repair the damage caused to the environment as well as increase efficiency.
Benefits of Using Nanotechnology In Air Conditioning
As of 2007, the global air conditioning industry (medium-and-small size) was estimated at around $190 billion. However, the principles of operation were still a century old or as patented by Willis Carrier in the year 1906!
However, use of nanotechnology in HVAC systems has revolutionized the industry. The biggest sources of the depletion of ozone layer are fluorocarbons like CFC and HCFCs. While reducing the use of these gases has been a challenge, successful use and implementation of NanoAir can reduce these harmful emissions to ZERO!
Furthermore, NanoAir can improve the quality of indoor air significantly, leading to healthier lifestyles and higher energy levels and lower number of respiratory diseases like asthma, which cost the US public health department $3.5 billion in 2007 alone.
NanoAir system also produces 30Btu/h of cooling as compared with the current 13Btu/h per W of energy input. This means that while a traditional 3T air conditioning system in a small-sized home requires 2.77kW of electricity, the nanotechnology based air conditioning system of the same size and at the same location would use only 1.2kW of electricity and produce just 1.64lb/hr of CO2 as compared to 3.77lb/hr of CO2 generated now. The impact of this will be seen promptly in form of lower electricity bills and enhanced savings per year.
While NanoAir system is undergoing the first stage or beta testing at the Dais’s Tampa Bay facility, the day when this technology can be implemented on a large scale is not far and saving the environment will no longer just be a dream, but a reality.]]>
It’s easy to start smoking but, as the smokers amongst us know, it’s very difficult to stop.
While all of us are inundated with the horrifying facts about smoking, the truth remains that most smokers simply sweep this information under the carpet, and continue enjoying this habit, even if it means taking a step closer to death with every puff of smoke.
Solid Facts About Smoking
Despite my resolve not to share the gory details about how smoking is affecting the world population at large, and the Americans in specific, I think it’s time we faced some truths.
1. Did you know that cigarette smoking is the single most known reason for premature deaths in the US and across the globe? Believe it, more than 440,000 Americans die each year due to diseases caused by smoking cigarettes.
2. The US spends more than $150 billion on health care cases related to smoking alone, every year. This figure is likely to increase year after year.
3. Did you know that when you puff on a cigarette you breathe in 4, 800 chemicals out of which 69 are responsible for causing cancer?
4. It’s not just the men who suffer health consequences from smoke, almost 40% smoking-related deaths happen in women.
5. Americans spent over $90billion on products containing tobacco in 2006 out of which approx. $84 billion was spent on buying cigarettes, while $3.4 billion was used on cigars and the remaining $2.5 billion was paid towards buying chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco.
6. Can you guess how many cigarettes were sold in the US in the year 2009? 315 billion, that’s how many!
Needless to suggest, that smoking is like a virus that is slowing eating away at the country’s economy, the health of its citizens, as well as their well-being.
However, there is hope for those of you who have been trying to stop smoking, but haven’t managed to despite trying all the nicotine patches, gums, and what have you. That ray of hope has come in the form of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology and Smoking
One of the fields where nanotechnology can contribute the maximum is medicine. This is especially true case of in diseases caused by first hand or second hand smoke, which is also one of the biggest reasons for early mortality in developed and developing countries.
The main culprit is tobacco tar that reduces the lifespan of the smoker. However, now with the help of nanotechnology, it may be possible to remove tobacco tar from a smoker’s lungs, helping him/her live a higher and longer life.
Nanotechnology is a technology that uses very tiny particles like 1 billionth of a meter in size. Nanometer is the scale used to measure these particles and to make it easier to understand, let me give you an example. 1 nanometer or nm = 3 atoms (approximately). Clearly nanotechnology has the capability to manipulate elements (energy etc) at the level of molecules quite successfully.
Due to its versatility, nanotech can be used for many things but, its applications in the field of medicine would be most useful to the world. Also known as ‘nanomedicine,’ this breakthrough will especially play an important role in treating diseases that the doctors have not been able to treat previously. And one such application would be to remove the tobacco tar from a smoker’s lungs.
Cigarette tar is a compound of chemicals that is created when a cigarette is lit. This compound contains hundreds of organic as well as harmful inorganic chemicals known to be very harmful for our bodies like ‘benzopyrene’ and ‘vinyl chloride.’ These inorganic chemicals are also called ‘carcinogens.’
Over the years, as you smoke, these chemicals form a coating inside your lungs along with the tobacco tar and cause diseases ranging from cancers like lung (affects 90% smokers), mouth, and esophageal, to Atherosclerossis or stiffening of arteries, to Coronary Thrombosis (blood clots in vessels carrying blood to the heart), to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD (insufficient airflow leading to breathing difficulty) etc.
Now it is a known fact that smoking causes certain types of cancers and the most common of them all is lung cancer. However, with there being a 20 years window (from the time you start smoking to the time you are likely to develop cancer) the use of nanotechnology to remove cigarette tar could well be the vital link to help people stop smoking.
Why is this viable proposition? Simply because lungs have the ability to self- clean. And once the tar is removed from the smoker’s body, the effects of the cleaning process will be visible in a few days. That being said a smoker’s lungs may require 10-15 years to become pink once again.
So, I’d like to say that if by using nanotechnology doctors can remove tar from the lungs of chronic smokers, it would be a major breakthrough in prevention of the occurrence of the ‘king of maladies.’ Are you willing to use nanotechnology for your own good?
Due to blurred definition of applied nanotechnology in terms of production procedures and ingredients, as well as due to loose regulatory and safety control systems, is the current scope and scale of nano-based personal care and cosmetics products only a wild guess.
However, one such estimation shows there is currently around 1000 personal care and cosmetics products on the global market that are nano-based.
While nanotechnology is widely applied and marketed in certain groups of cosmetic products such as sunscreens, anti-aging skin care and hair care products, much less is known about nanotechnology in perfumes; their production and application.
Currently known applications of nanotechnology in perfume production and application are predominantly based on nano-encapsulation methods (coating of nanoparticles with different substances):
1. Production of perfume (aroma) compounds. Application of nanotechnology enables reduction of costs of perfume compounds manufacture, while at the same time making it possible to produce purer and completely natural perfume compounds.
This can be achieved by using nanoparticles such as gold-palladium that can replace expensive and potentially toxic reagents that promote oxidation of aromatic primary alcohols to aldehydes, which is one of the crucial processes in the perfume production.
Another nano-encapsulation procedure proposes the use of nanoparticles coated in natural enzymes in the process of manufacturing expensive perfume compounds. There are no unwanted or harmful residuals.
Further, the acquired scent compounds are of higher purity and can be labeled as completely natural since they are derived from reaction catalyzed by enzymes from natural organisms. This procedure could replace expensive extraction of perfume compounds from natural materials or their expensive purely chemical synthesis.
2. Time-controlled and prolonged release of scents. Nano-encapsulation (nano-delivery systems) can also help improve the attributes and performance (durability, stability) of substances such as fragrances that can be negatively affected by changed conditions of the environment (light, air). Application of nano-encapsulation in fragrance products enables more efficient (prolonged) and time-controlled release of the scents.
This can be used in the manufacture of more durable fragrance samples used for marketing purposes, in textile and accessories fashion (e.g., embedding perfume into textiles, shoes, jewelry) and other materials (e.g., ceramics, baby dippers). Release of scents can be time-controlled by stimuli such as diffusion, pressure or temperature sensitivity.
3. Use of nano-encapsulation procedures in development of ‘nanotechnology electronic noses’ (replication of human olfactory sense) promises detection and absorption of variety of odors, which could be used in detection and absorption of unwanted or hazardous odors (e.g., carbon monoxide).
Further, this could facilitate electronic sampling and testing of fragrance products, thus reducing the costs of fragrance and fragrance products development, and it could even enable development of artificial noses for people who lost the sense of smell.
Recently, one type of electronic appliances in this direction, nano perfume ejectors, has been put on market. They are designed to mix nanoparticles with perfume and / or water particles and enable sterilization of air, absorption of unpleasant and release of pleasant odors.
Considering the wide range of places where it could be used (e.g., homes, hospitals, public places) this type of nano-appliances undoubtedly has a bright commercial future.
The main concerns of using nanotechnology in perfumes as in all personal care and cosmetics products are connected to potential human health and environment hazards.
Concerns regarding human health got louder after it has been discovered that it is possible for some nanoparticles to cross the natural blood-brain barrier and that they can lethally damage living cells. Nanoparticles can enter the human bodies in many different ways; nanoparticles from nano-based fragrance products for example through skin and inhalation.
Due to their small size, nanoparticles are extremely mobile once they enter the body and it is feared to what extent they can penetrate naturally selective barriers in the living cells, which could result in toxic or even lethal consequences. Using nano-based fragrance products could thus implicate a variety of negative health consequences, such as severe damages of DNA, chromosomes and immune system, toxic accumulation in tissues and organs (e.g., lungs, brain), interference with vital processes and mechanisms.
This is all due to the fact that nano-scaled particles tend to develop properties which can not be assigned completely to their chemical nature. Their properties and behaviour when interacting with other (living) substances and processes are not yet researched in sufficient detail to enable prediction and avoidance of possible negative consequences for human health.
Another concern the application of nano-based fragrance products raises is connected to potential environmental hazards. Scarce information about conducted environmental impact assessments is available regarding the possible impacts of spreading nanoparticles into the environment during the life cycle of nano-based fragrance products.
Parallels and environmental hazard warnings are drawn similar as in the case of introducing genetically modified organisms, nuclear energy and use of asbestos in construction.
Up until recently majority of nano-based cosmetic products entered the global market without sufficient safety and risk assessments conducted and transparent product labeling. The producers of nano-based (cosmetics) products advocated this by declaring nano-scaled ingredients to be chemically and thus safety-wise identical to bigger-sized particles of the same substance.
However, concerned public, NGOs and even governmental bodies have in the last years intensified their calls to set up tighter regulatory systems that would more efficiently control the production, risk assessment, handling and labeling of nano-based (cosmetics) products and that would also apply the so called ‘precautionary principle’ already widely applied for the newly introduced medications.
As with any novel cutting edge technology that promises unprecedented benefits and solutions to the existing problems, the same should hold also for the nanotechnology applied in perfumes: ‘curb your enthusiasm’. In order to avoid unwanted effects on human health and environment, tighter and more efficient regulative rules regarding the manufacture, handling and labeling of nano-based fragrance products need to be enforced as soon as possible.
Considering the vast scale and scope at which consumers are directly exposed to fragrance products daily (e.g., perfumes, deodorants, home fragrances), the unwanted health and environmental consequences of smelling nano could be of unimaginable magnitude in the longer term.
Cosmetics and fragrance industry giants, such as L’Oreal and Coty, are heavily investing in nanotechnological research, therefore further nanotechnological leaps in the way perfumes and related products are produced and applied can be expected in the very near future. But if the perfume industry wants healthy returning customers, they need to build consumer confidence regarding the safety of using nano-based perfumes.
This could be achieved by conducting rigorous risk assessments and by providing an efficient labeling and consumer information system. Feared or factually proven negative health impacts of using such mass-products as perfumes, could stigmatize the public image and consequently investments into R&D of nanotechnology as whole.
So, the next time you smell, let’s say the newest Chanel women’s perfume, ask yourself, do you smell nano-future? And if you do, will you want to – know?]]>
Medical nanotechnology or nanomedicine is the medical aspect or application of nanotechnology using different approaches such as nanoelectronic biosensors, nanomaterials, and a very futuristic but underdeveloped molecular nanotechnology that includes molecular manufacturing. Medical nanotechnology aims to provide cheaper yet quality health and medical equipment, facilities, and treatment strategies through continuous researches and studies. A lot of pharmaceutical and medical companies all over the world have already adhered to medical nanotechnology because of its numerous benefits and practical uses.
What Are the Benefits of Medical Nanotechnology?
Although some are still skeptical about the technology, scientists and researchers over continents have been practicing medicine using nanotechnology due to its numerous benefits. Some of these benefits to the medical field include the following:
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Nanotechnology refers to all the researches and studies being conducted in advance scientific laboratories that aim to produce nanotechnology materials to enhance the living conditions of man. Nanotechnology is also known as the science of small things or the development and engineering of functional systems at a molecular scale.
Where Can Nanotechnology Be Applied?
Basically, nanotechnology is used in most of the things we use today. Some of these things are still in the process of development while others are already enhanced and widely used in the fields of science and technology, medicine, electronics, industrial engineering, environment protection, and even in military. Nanotechnology is a complicated aspect of technology coupled with tremendous controversy and peppered with moral questions. But if handled and administered properly, nanotechnology can be very useful most people are even enjoying its research outcomes.
What Are Nanotechnology Materials?
Nanoscience and nanotechnology are basically concerned with new or enhanced functional materials that can be beneficial to man. These materials are called nanotechnology materials or nanomaterials. There are different approaches to construct nanomaterials. These approaches are the following:
The Different Dimensions of Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials are those that have structural components that have at least one dimension less than 100 nanometers. Nanomaterials have different dimensions, the single or one dimension, double dimension or two dimension, and three dimension nanomaterials. Examples of nanomaterials with different dimensions are the following:
Applications of Nanotechnology Materials
While several of nanomaterials are still on the process of being developed and researched in various laboratories in the world, some of these nanomaterials are already being used in different areas in the society. You might be surprised that some of the products of extensive researches are right inside your very home. The applications of nanomaterials are divided into three categories: the current applications that include cosmetics, tougher tools, composites, clay, and coatings. Short-term applications comprise of fuel cells, batteries, catalysts, paints, fuel additives, and displays, among others. Long-term application of nanomaterials include lubricants, magnetic materials, medical implants, machinable ceramics, water purification, nanotube composites, and military battle suits.
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In What Fields Are Nanotechnology Experts Needed?
Nanotechnology can practically be applied to almost all areas of the society, from the simplest objects to the most complicated structures and functional systems. If you want to get a stable nanotechnology career, you must excel in science and technology to get the following nanotechnology careers:
What Does It Take to Have a Career in Nanotechnology?
If you are aspiring to be a part of the history in the fields of science, technology, and other related fields, you must be equipped with the necessary background and characteristics. You should know that having a nanotechnology career is not only mentally challenging, it can also demand a lot of your time that should be devoted to your loved ones or personal necessities. If you want to make it big and be a part of the few who takes on the challenge of creating things at a molecular scale, you should be ready to sacrifice a lot and invest in obtaining necessary knowledge and technological know-how not just at an average level but at an exceptional degree.
To have a career in nanotechnology, you must have the following:
While achieving your dream career, educational choice is a must. Pick a degree that is related to science and technology to get you nearer to your nanotechnology career.
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For several years now, scientists and researches has been looking at other means to obtain the following:
Achieving These Goals Using Nanotechnology Solar Panel
Nanotechnology aims to build important things with the use of tiny machines or by producing highly advanced, essential, and quality products using tools and techniques provided by nanotechnology.
Part of the researches being conducted is to come up with a solar panel that would accurately capture solar energy that can be utilized at home, in the office, and even in large-scale industrial areas. Although there are already solar panels available in the market today, these solar panels that are usually made of silicone panels only capture 67.4% light incident or solar energy emitted by the sun. Whereas, with nanotechnology, industrial and electrical manufacturers can now produce a coating for solar panels using nanorods that can capture 96.7 % light incident.
Nanorods used in nanotechnology solar panel looks like multi-layer funnels designed to capture light incident. The first layer absorbs the light that hits the panel at wide outer angles and turns it to a slightly narrower angle. The succeeding layers become narrower, like they are passing the light to the next layer even further as it funnels the light till it reaches the active region of the panel at a 90° angle. This process makes the solar panel securely capture the sun’s energy without having to rotate with the sun.
Benefits of Nanotechnology Solar Panel
Installing a nanorod on your solar panel can give out a lot of benefits not just for your personal advantages but to the whole of mankind. Some of these benefits include:
Generating energy in a clean and green manner is, of course, just one element of a low carbon economy. Another element is the way in which energy is used and finding ways to reduce waste. In this area, home insulation is a very important factor – just think of how many poorly insulted homes there are in the world! A technology being developed to assist with insulating buildings use formaldehyde. The current tests are developing ways to coat ordinary doors and surfaces with the chemical to trap more air in, reducing heat transfer. This will be another breakthrough of the future.
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What Is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology used to be regarded in the fields of science as a science fiction: impossible and unattainable. But over time, nanotechnology and its uses among different facets of the society such as agriculture, home improvement, industrial, even in areas of environmental protection is already widely accepted and practiced. Nanotechnology in pharmaceutic manufacturing is also being done in big pharmaceutical and health companies. But what is nanotechnology? For people who are not in the fields of sciences and engineering, nanotechnology may be an unfamiliar word.
Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale or thru tiny engineering. In essence, nanotechnology is the probability to build things from the bottom up using scientific techniques and tools that are currently developed today to come up with advanced, complete, and highly usable and essential products.
What Are the Benefits of Nanotechnology?
The basic benefit of nanotechnology is its ability to produce important products in a massive scale with the least or minimum cost. If managed properly, meaning, if the makers of products using nanotechnology would only make products that will provide benefit to mankind with utmost safety precautions in mind, nanotechnology is the next wave of industrial revolution. Nanotechnology will eliminate production costs for materials, labor, and energy because it can produce bigger and better things invented by our forefathers at a staggering speed and amazing precision there is no room for mistakes.
How Can Nanotechnology Be Applied to Pharmaceutic Manufacturing?
Man is exposed to varied health hazards these days due to the advent of science and technology that most often emit hazardous free radicals and pollutants that contribute to the general decline of mankind. Because of this and also because of man’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle, people need more medication for varied diseases. Millions of people are in need of medication and medical maintenance that is why pharmaceutical companies is a booming business.
If nanotechnology in pharmaceutic manufacturing would be applied, with the speedy production of quality medicines at a very minimal cost, it will cause economic and social ripples that could be beneficial to mankind. Because of very low production cost, manufacturing companies would be compelled to lower down the prices of medicines. Nanotechnology in pharmaceutic manufacturing would be beneficial not just to end consumers of the medicines but also to the pharmaceurical companies or drug makers because they would be able to produce quality and highly marketable drugs with the least capital and generation cost needed.
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When nanotechnology was discovered, the automotive industry was not seen as a possible beneficiary from this piece of knowledge. Yet in time, the automotive industry became one of the heaviest users of nanotech. With nanotechnology in cars, vehicles were made more efficient.
The Application of Nanotechnology in Cars
The following are some of the most common examples of the application of nanotechnology in cars:
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