Friday, December 13, 2013

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is a catch-all phrase for materials and devices that operate at the nanoscale. In the metric system of measurement, "nano" equals a billionth and therefore a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. References to nano materials, nanoelectronics, nano devices and nanopowders simply mean the material or activity can be measured in nanometers. To appreciate the size, a human red blood cell is over 2,000 nanometers long, virtually outside the nanoscale range! Recently, government and private institutions have devoted substantial research into finding potential valuable uses at this scale, as discussed below.

How are nanotechnologies used today?

image of foamed palladium
Despite views that nanotechnology is a far-fetched idea with no near-term applications, nanoparticles, nanopowders and nanotubes already play a significant role in industry, environmental remediation, medicine, science and even in the household. The majority of nanotechnologies commercially used today are based on such nano-sized particles.
Rare earth nanoparticles and rare earth oxide nanopowders are finding application in uses as varied as enhanced fiber optic amplification (EDFA) to the removal of phosphate in the blood of patients with Hyperphosphatemia. Iron Nanoparticles, Iron Oxide Nanopowder , Cobalt Nanoparticles, and several other elemental nanoparticles and alloys form a group of "Magnetic Nanoparticles" with promising application in medical treatment of cancer, magnetic storage and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Carbon Nanotubes are Single-Walled, Double Walled and Multi-Walled black nano scale cylindrical tubes of graphitic carbon with numerous applications. Carbon Nanotubes are the stiffest and strongest known fibers and have unique electrical properties. Applications for AE Carbon Nanotubes™ include in flat screen displays, scanning probe microscopes in brushes for commercial electric motors, and in sensing devices and because of their strength in numerous aerospace and automotive uses, in body armor and tear-resistant cloth fibers and textiles and stronger and lighter sports equipment . Carbon nanotubes can behave like a conductive metallic or semiconductor depending on their structure, which is useful for nanoscale electronic devices and in electrically conductive films in coatings, plastics, nanowire, nanofiber and in certain bioscience applications.

image os carbon silk
Nanotechnology is playing an increasing role in solving the world energy crisis. Lanthanum Nanoparticles, Cerium nanoparticles, Strontium Carbonate Nanoparticles, Manganese Nanoparticles, Manganese Oxide Nanopowder, Nickel Oxide Nanopowder and several other nanoparticles are finding application in the development of small cost-effective Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC). And Platinum Nanoparticles are being used to develop small Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEM). Lithium Nanoparticles, Lithium Titanate Nanoparticles and tantalum nanoparticles will be found in next generation lithium ion batteries. Ultra high purity Silicon Nanoparticles are being used in new forms of solar energy cells.

Nanoscale Z-MITE™ ZnO is being used for its UV absorbing properties to create transparent sunscreen. The particles' small size makes them invisible to the naked eye, so the lotion is clear. At American Elements, we produce nanoscale oxides for a wide variety of applications. For detailed product information on the uses and applications of Z-MITE™, see Z-MITE™ PRODUCT INFORMATION. Z-MITE™ Zinc Oxide nanoparticles , zinc nanoparticles and silver nanoparticles , are used for many applications, including as an anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-biotic and anti-fungal agents when incorporated in coatings, fibers, polymers, first aid bandages, plastics, soap and textiles.