Communications In Modern Battle Field Computer Science Essay

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Nanotechnology is widely considered to constitute the basis of the next technological revolution, following on from the first Industrial Revolution, which began around 1750 with the introduction of the steam engine and steelmaking. The Industrial Revolution constituted as profound a change in society and civilization. A second Industrial Revolution began around the end of the 19th century with the introduction of electricity on an industrial scale ( and which paved the way for other innovations such as wireless communication) , and most recently we have had the Information Revolution, characterized by the widespread introduction of computing devices and the internet [1] .

The projected impact of nanotechnology has been touted as a second industrial revolution. Not third, fourth, or fifth, because despite similar predictions for technologies such as computers and robotics, nothing has as yet eclipsed the first [2] .

Nanotechnology has the potential for increasing our physical capabilities more than did the industrial revolution, expanding our ability to learn and communicate more than did the printing press, accelerating our ability to travel more than did the boat or the wheel, and enlarging the range of places we can live more than did clothing. It could induce greater biological changes in the human organism than the difference between humans and chimpanzees [3] .

Nanotechnology pertains to creation of structures with significantly improved physical, chemical, and biological properties, phenomena and processes. Such a new form of material and devices herald a new age for science and technology, and finds application in the Armed Forces. A potential consequence of this is impact on future defence communication capabilities.

It is therefore essential that a holistic analysis of the potential of Nanotechnology be carried out to understand its impact on the communications for the modern battle field.

Statement of the Problem

6. This paper seeks to study the impact of nanotechnology on future def capabilities on communications in modern battle field, and bring out that the need for a coordinated defence and civil industry partnership.


7. Nanotechnology will have significant impact on wireless communication capabilities, especially advanced sensor technologies and communication hardware for all future military applications.

Justification of the Study

8. The rapid evolution of advanced technology has constantly served up innovation after innovation in a super compressed time frame. And now a new era of new technology: Nanotechnology is emerging, which is discussed as one of the key technologies of the 21st century. In fact the potential benefits and hypes about this technology dominated the scientific and mass media coverage of Nanotechnology. Due this a number of myths have grown up around the field, making it difficult for drawing possible conclusions on the current status and analyse the impacts that it can bring on future def capabilities on communications in modern battle field. Recognising these, this paper seeks to study the impact of nanotechnology on future def capabilities on communications in modern battle field.


9. Wireless communications is a critical technology for all future military applications. Advancements in wireless communication technologies allow war-fighters to remain mobile while providing real time access to greater amounts of information. This type of technology has changed the way soldiers communicate. The discovery of several new nanotechnology advancements that can be integrated into current wireless devices and systems will enhance the capabilities of the war-fighters in the field even further. This study concentrates on the potential impact of nanotechnology on communications for the war-fighter.

Methods of Data Collection

10. The information for the study has been gathered from various books, periodicals, articles, research papers and the Internet. A bibliography of the various sources is appended at the end of the text.

Organisation of the Dissertation

11. It is proposed to study the subject in the following manner.

Introduction of Nanotechnology. This chapter describes definition of nanotechnology, nanometer, history of nanotechnology, and science of nanotechnology.

Potential Applications of Nanotechnology. The nano-scale structuring of materials and the technologies multidisciplinary nature is expected to bring about potential revolution, some of the potential breakthroughs in applications, showing that some of the technology is already available are discussed in this chapter. According to the major research sources, Nanotechnology is expected to bring potential impacts under the five major fields, which are outlined below. These fields are also regarded as Nanotechnology fields of applications, which cover almost the major sectors of industries. [4] 

Materials and Manufacturing

Environmental and Energy

Electronics and Computers

Medical and Health

Space, Aircraft and Transportation

Impact of Nanotechnology on Future Defence Forces Capabilities. For Defence Forces the implications could be enormous, both in terms of the opportunities it might offer to grow our own military capability, and the new threats it might lead to. The list of possibilities which has been discussed in this chapter is listed below:-

Performance Improvement of Information Technology

(ii) High Autonomous and Accurate Weapons

(iii) Miniature High Energy Power Supply

(iv) Improved Battlefield Transparency with Nano Sensors

Improved Individual War fighting Capabilities

Biological and Chemical Warfare Defence

Impact of Nanotechnology on Communications. Wireless technology is rapidly advancing, affecting many communication paths including those used by the current war fighters. The use of nanotechnology can significantly impact the continuation of this acceleration of advanced technology. Nanotechnology has the ability to enhance communications for the war fighters directly, through specific device advancement such as in the enhancement of sensor technology and power, and indirectly through basic electronic enhancement. [5] This chapter covers the potential impact of nanotechnology on the following communication fields:-

Advanced Sensors Technology.

Solution for Radio Sets for Modern Battle Field.

Memory devices with increased Storage Capacity and low power consumption.

Development of User Interfaces and Interaction Solutions.

Power and Thermal Management of Future Wireless Devices.

Effect on Nanotechnology on Communication Hardware

Conclusion and Recommendations. This chapter will bring out the impact of changing communication technology due to nanotechnology on the battlefield environment.

"Nanotechnology: the art of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale especially to build microscopic devices (as robots)."

-AOL online dictionary



Definition of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology means different for different disciplines of people. Definitions of Nanotechnology are as diverse as the applications of it. Few definitions related to its disciplines are given in succeeding paragraphs:-

Physics. "The ability to design and control the structure of an object at all length scales from the atom up to macro scale." [6] 

Biology. "The core of Nanotechnology consists of systems in the size range of nanometres." [7] 

Chemistry. "It is assembly of molecules or atoms to make use of their unique properties existing at nano-scale." [8] 

Science Fiction. "Manipulation of individual atoms and molecules to build structure to complex, atomic specifications." [9] 

Nanotechnology is the ability to observe, measure, manipulate, and manufacture things at the nanometer scale. A nanometer (nm) is an SI (Syst`eme International d'Unit´es) unit of length 10−9 or a distance of one-billionth of a meter. That's very small. At this scale, you are talking about the size of atoms and molecules. To create a visual image of a nanometer, observe the nail on your little finger. The width of your nail on this finger is about 10 million

To get a sense of some other nano-scaled objects, a strand of human hair is approximately 75,000 to 100,000 nanometers in diameter. A head of a pin is about a million nanometers wide and it would take about 10 hydrogen atoms end-to-end to span the length of one nanometer. The word "nanotechnology" was first introduced in the late 1970s. While many definitions for nanotechnology exist, most groups use the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) definition. The NNI calls something "nanotechnology" only if it involves all of the following:

Research and technology development at the atomic, molecular, or macromolecular levels, in the length scale of approximately 1 to 100-nanometer range.

Creating and using structures, devices, and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small and/or intermediate size.

Ability to control or manipulate on the atomic scale.

Simple definition, which this study deals can be " Nanotechnology can be defined as the creation and use of materials, devices and systems in a size range of molecular and atomic/ nano scale" (Nanometre is thousand millionth of a metre).

Nanotechnology is the name given to a new field of science and technology where the component parts can be measured in some tens of atom diameters or even less; around a millionth of a millimetre. This not only means that complex and sophisticated systems can be incredibly small, but because they work at the atomic scale, new principle of physics applies and novel and revolutionary applications are possible. [10] 


Nanometer is thousand millionth of a meter (1nm= 10-9 m). Practical examples for better understanding are:-

1/80000 of the diameter of a human hair.

1/10000 times the size of bacteria.

10 times the diameter of Hydrogen atom.

Fig 2.1 Size Comparison Chart [11] 

History of Nanotechnology

Unknowing use of Nanotechnology dates back thousands of years, nanoparticles of soot were used to produce ink already in ancient China, gold nanoparticles gave rise to the red colour in medieval stained glass windows. Modern science arrived at the nanoscale in one sense when the concepts of atoms and molecules were formalised and corroborated in the nineteenth century. [12] 

Taken as a concept of manipulation below 100nm scale, Nanotechnology is often traced back to the speech by R Feynman of 1959, 'There's Plenty of Room at the bottom: An Invitation to enter a New Field of Physics' [13] , where he stimulated his audience with the vision of exciting new discoveries, in which one could fabricate materials and devices at the atomic/ molecular scale. He also added that for this to happen, a new class of miniaturised instrumentation would be needed to manipulate and measure the properties of such small nano structures.

First direct observation of single atoms in a surface was made possible with the invention of scanning tunnelling microscope in 1981 [14] .

First articles and books on molecular nanotechnology were written by E Drexler in 1981 and 1986. [15] 

The word 'Nanotechnology' was first used by Nario Taiguchi in 1983 to describe machining with tolerances of less than a micron. [16] 

In the 1990 and beyond, breakthroughs were achieved in the following areas [17] :-

Carbon nano tubes were discovered and carbon nano tube transistors were demonstrated.

DNA molecules were connected to form cubes and other three dimensional structure.

A single molecule acted as an electronic switch.

In a parallel development, improvement of computational capability enabled simulations of material behaviour at the nano scale.

Benefits of Nanotechnology [18] 

Given the potential for structuring matter on the nanometre scale, Nanotechnology is projected to deliver many benefits, some are listed below:-

Lighter, stronger, more durable, programmable materials, allowing lighter equipment and also vehicles.

Smaller, more powerful computers, sensors and displays.

Integration of biological with synthetic systems for pharmaceutical production.

Dramatically faster genome sequencing, individual therapeutics, targeted drug delivery.

Artificial materials for cell diagnostic, biocompatible implants.

Control and minimization of emissions from production, removal of contaminants from the environment.

Increased efficiency of solar energy conversion.

Highly efficient fuel cells and hydrogen storage.

Nanostructured catalysts for chemical production with less energy and waste.

Nanostructured light emitting diodes for saving energy in lighting.

Water purification and desalination.

Better chemicals for agriculture, genetic improvement for plants and animals.

Light weight space launchers and spacecraft, miniaturised automatic space systems.

Science of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology involves two approaches , that is top-down and bottom-up approaches, which are explained below:-

Top-Down approach. Traditional industrial technologies uses top-down approach. In these approach blocks of raw material are cast, sawed or machined into precise products by removing unwanted matter. Refer fig 2.2 .

Fig 2.2 Top- Down and Bottom-up Approach of Nanotechnology [19] 

Bottom-Up approach. Refer Fig 2.2. The bottom-up approach deals with the techniques of organising individual atoms and molecules into particular arrangement or configuration, to create complex precise products. With Nanotechnology bottom-up approach, atoms will be specifically placed and connected, all at very rapid rates, in a fashion similar to processes found in living organisms. Presently, most of the industries are manufacturing the nano-scale products, but they are approaching a nano-scale through the traditional technology. Bottom-up approach is still a vision. Both top-down and bottom-up approach defines the level of advancement of Nanotechnology. The key to the application of Nanotechnology will be the development of processes that control placement of individual atoms to form products of great complexity at extremely small scale. [20] 

Fig 2.3 Process Involved in Nanotechnology [21] 

Process Involved. [22] The broad field of science and technology of Nanotechnology can be most conveniently organised according to the figure 2.3 shown above. The basis of the field is any type of material (metal, ceramic, polymer, semiconductor, glass, composite) created from nano-scale blocks (nanoparticles, nanolayers, etc.) that are themselves synthesized from atoms and molecules. Thus, the controlled synthesis of those building blocks and their subsequent assembly into nanostructures is one fundamental theme of this field. Full-fledged Nanotechnology promises nothing less than complete control over the physical structure of matter the same kind of control over the molecular and structural makeup of physical objects. The atom-atom construction is still a vision, but currently there are techniques through which the advantages of nano-scale of a matter are taken, and some of them are:-

Direct control of solids.

Transformation of liquid solutions to gel and then to solids/deposition.

Chemical vapour deposition.

Figure 2.4: Development Phases and Hierarchy Stages of Nanotechnology. [23] 

Hierarchy Stages of Nanotechnology. [24] The figure 2.4 above illustrates, the development phases as of today on the left side corresponding to the hierarchy stages in the middle. The hierarchy stages are explained in detail:-

Nanoparticles. At the simplest level are the nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are sometimes referred to as nanomaterials. Presently nanoparticles exist in various products like paints, inks & ceramics. But their range is expected to grow rapidly.

Nanomaterials (Nanostructures). At the second stage under hierarchy are the nanomaterials, some are under research phase and few in market. Nanomaterial is defined as any material that has unique or novel properties, due to nano-scale (nanometre-scale) structuring. These are formed by incorporation or structuring of nanoparticles. Nanomaterials are the main building blocks in Nanotechnology processes; these are subdivided into nanocrystals, nanotubes, nanopowders.

Nanodevices and Nanosystems. The next stage is the complex era of Nanotechnology, which is the combination of nanostructured materials into nanosystems and nanodevices. There are parallel efforts under every stage and huge amount of money is flowing under its research and development agendas, and hence development may occur earlier than expected.

"Most arguments against nanotechnology are arguments against life itself"

-Marvin Minsky, in Prospects in Nanotechnology




According to the major research sources, nanotechnology will bring upon major impacts on the following five broad categories of major sectors of industries.

Materials and Manufacturing.

Environmental and Energy.

Electronics and Computers

Medical and Health

Space, Aircraft and Transportation.

Materials and Manufacturing

The way materials and devices are produced will undergo a fundamental change in future. "The ability to synthesise nano scale building blocks with precisely controlled size and composition, and then to assemble them into larger structures with unique properties and functions will revolutionise segments of the materials manufacturing industry" [25] .

In addition to changing the process of how goods are produced it will bring in lighter, stronger and programmable material. It will reduce life cycle costs through lower failure rates. It will bring in innovative devices based on new principles and architectures.

Application would include manufacturing of nano structured metals, ceramics and polymers of exact shapes without machining. It will also include nanoscale cemented, plated carbides and nanocoated cutting tools, electronics, chemical and structural applications. Nanofabrication on a chip would permit high level of complexity and functionality.

Environmental and Energy

Nanotechnology can be used to monitor and remedy environmental problems; curb emission from a wide range of resources; and develop new, green processing technologies minimising the generation of undesirable by products.

Some of the anticipated breakthroughs in the field of environment also includes

Use of nanorobotics and intelligent systems for environmental and nuclear waste management.

Use of nano filters to separate isotopes in nuclear reactors, of nanopowders for decontamination.

Computer simulation at nanoscale for nuclear safety.

Nanotechnology has tremendous potential to impact efficiency of energy production and storage. "Nanotechnology promises highly efficient new conductors and superconductors that could gradually replace current transmission facilities. Nano enabled solutions, such as super capacitors, will create entirely new opportunities for local electricity storage and may gradually lead to new distributed architecture for electricity grids. At the same time, nanotechnology is breathing new life into alternative energy resources especially solar power and fuel cells." [26] 

Electronics and Computers

This segment would benefit by continued improvements in miniaturisation, speed and reduced power requirement in information processing devices, sensors for signal acquisition, logic devices for processing, storage devices for memory, displays for visualisation and transmission devices for communication.

Some of the anticipated breakthroughs in the field of electronics and computers also includes:-

Data storage capacity and processing speeds will increase dramatically and be cheaper and more energy efficient. Devices with capacities of multiterabytes, hundreds and hundreds time better than what we have today.

Biosensors and chips could become ubiquitous in daily life, monitoring every aspect of the economy and society. Sensors capable of collecting, processing and communicating a large amount of data with very little consumption of power would revolutionise the sensor technology.

Light based electronics may be possible.

Nanostructured microprocessor devices could continue the trend in lower energy use and cost per gate, thereby improving the efficacy of computers by a factor of millions.

Communications systems with higher transmission frequencies would result in more efficient utilisation of the spectrum to provide at least ten times more bandwidth.

Medical and Health

Living systems are governed by molecular behaviour at nanoscale, where scientific concepts of chemistry, biology, computation, and physics all play an important role in converging to form basic life processes. [27] 

Nanotechnology may enable a convergence of delivery and therapeutics. Presently much of research undertaken by major pharmaceutical companies involves new drug delivery vehicles. [28] 

Potential applications in the field of Medicines and Health includes:-

Rapid and efficient genome sequencing enabling a revolution in diagnostic and therapeutic.

New drug delivery mechanism or vehicles that will broaden the therapeutic potential by targeting previously inaccessible sites in the body.

Inexpensive and effective health care using remote devices.

Durable artificial tissues and organs which are more rejection resistant.

Sensor systems for early detection of emerging disease in the body.

Space, Aircraft and Transportation

The desires to reach remote and hostile environments in the solar system, the stringent fuel constraints for payloads into earth orbit and beyond, and the desire to send spacecraft away from the sun for extended missions, compel continued reduction in size, weight and power consumption of payloads. [29] 

Potential application of Nanotechnology in the field of Space and Aeronautics includes:-

Lightweight, high strength, thermally stable materials for planes, rockets and space stations.

Thermal protection through carbon nanotubes may lead to high temperature applications.

Greater efficiency of energy storage.

Nano devices for high capability, low power computing and communication systems.

Nanotechnology is expected to bring many applications in the automotive industry to include the development of lighter and stronger materials. Some future applications may include:-

Nano coating to achieve hardening, low friction and enhanced corrosion protection.

Tires with nanoparticles of inorganic clays and polymers, leading to tires that are wear resistant and environmentally friendly.

Embedded nanosensors that can monitor and communicate real time conditions and identify maintenance requirements.

"How armies, air forces, marine corps and navies think about war guides their peacetime innovations and determine the patterns of successful or unsuccessful adaptations in war."

-Murray W




The emerging technologies will reshape the way nations use forces to achieve national goals. Nanotechnology will offer new opportunities and will have tremendous impact on future defence capabilities. Advancing technologies create new weapons and defences. New military technologies can even change the entire nature of the world system and the rules by which states and other actors on the world stage act.

The developments examined below represent areas of potential in military field and are in various stages of development. The areas of impact for enhanced war fighting capabilities can be classified as follows:-

Performance Improvement of Information and Communication Technology.

Highly Autonomous and Accurate Weapons.

Miniature High Energy Power Supply.

Improved Battlefield Transparency with Nano Sensors.

Improved Individual War fighting Capabilities.

Small Satellites and Space Launchers.

Performance Improvement of Information and Communication Technology

Nanotechnology based computers will be smaller, more powerful and will consume less energy. Advances in nanoelectronics will develop nanotransistors, diodes, relays and gates, which will increase the processing power at extraordinary rates.

Software progress will continue and lead to new levels of artificial intelligence. The Decision support systems based on artificial intelligence would surpass human mental capabilities and a convincing simulation of human intelligence may well be possible.

Nanotechnology can not only affect the war-fighter through specific device advancement such as in sensor technology and power enhancement, but can have a much more profound effect on the communications capabilities for the war-fighter indirectly through basic electronic enhancement. [30] 

Highly Autonomous and Accurate Weapons

Stronger and lighter material would allow the building of conventional barrel type weapons with reduced mass. Together with enhanced propellants, somewhat higher muzzle velocity and accordingly long range seems feasible. For ballistic and air breathing missiles, the reduced mass could translate to a marked increase in speed, range or payload, and to reduction of carrier size. [31] 

Nanotechnology will allow even smaller systems to have their own guidance system. Inertial navigations system, probably augmented by satellite navigation, could be used not only in small missiles and artillery shells, but principally even in rifle ammunition and similarly projectiles. Small control flaps could be moved by active material. With the higher accuracy from guidance systems, against some targets munitions of lower mass or smaller explosive charge could be used which could be used which in turn will allows smaller guns. [32] 

Miniature High Energy Power Supply.

Nanotechnology will provide macroscopic systems with higher efficiency at lower mass and also make available new microscopic devices for low power applications. If a device is worn by a person, power may be generated from using motion, small thermal gradients or reaction of biochemical molecules.

Improved Battlefield Transparency with Nano Sensors.

Nanotechnology allows the manufacture of extremely small sensing elements. Due to a combination of sensing element, processing electronics, communication channel and power supply in a sensor system, lower size limits may also follow from the requirement on the other components like radio antenna and power supply. Nanotechnology will bring significant miniaturization potential with very small electronics and more efficient power sources.

By using Nanotechnology, dust particle sized distributed sensors for battlefield can be manufactured at very low cost and in large quantities. Sensors types could include visible, infrared or radio frequency radiation, acoustic, magnetic, seismic, chemical or biological.

Improved Individual War fighting Capabilities.

Nanotechnology can be used in various ways in systems close to, but outside of the body of the soldier, that interacts with the body or enhances its functions. Sensors could measure various quantities like temperature, heart and breathing rate, transpiration. Micro needles penetrating into the skin could be used to take samples of blood and inject drugs. Chemical and biological analyses could be done by integrated micro fluidic biochips. [33] 

With Nanotechnology it would be possible to circulate fluids through hollow nano fibres in a garment for cooling or heating. With appropriate valves, wound healing agents could be applied where needed. Using controllably deforming material, parts of a battle suit could stiffen on demand to compress wounds or form a splint across a bone fractured.

Small satellites and space launchers

Nanotechnology will lead to marked reduction of the sizes of satellites and space launchers due to size and weight savings in computers, sensors, structural materials. Propellants, power supplies etc.

Overall Impact on Future Soldier in the Modern Battle Field. [34] 

The future soldier will be equipped with a Body Area Network consisting of a number of wireless products communicating with each other: PDA/mobile phone, helmet / visor with head display, watch, weapon, supplies of cartridges, and sensors on body or garment. All these systems can gather data, exchange data with each other and can give the soldier the essential info via his PDA, earplug, display, watch etc. The wireless soldier is connected via phone and PDA to the network centric warfare system, his commander, the distributed sensor network on the battlefield and his fellow soldiers. Essential part of the wireless soldier is the ability to monitor his position, his physical and mental condition, supplies and status of equipment. His watch or other personal device (PDA/Phone/Smart helmet) will have basic functions like positioning, wireless communication, RFID-reader, heart rate monitoring (wireless), accelerometers but in the future also enhanced body function monitoring can be expected such as dehydration level, glucose level and targeted drug and functional food delivery. The figure 4.1 illustrates the hypothetical use of these biomedical status-monitoring devices when they are combined with wireless communication systems. Individual soldier status can be monitored not only by soldiers working side by side, but also by central units that can be mobile or transmitted to satellite systems. Future sensors may also be embedded bionic chips.

Finally the soldier can also distribute sensor modes (nodes or smart dust) to gather and distribute information via micro IR sensors, micro radar, gas sensors and nanobiosensors which form adhoc networks and function as an ambient intelligence system. He will get info via his PDA, phone, watch and via flexible thin film displays on his uniform or in his visor.

Figure 2.4: Development Phases and Hierarchy Stages of Nanotechnology. [35] 

"The fusion of elements of power is complicated by several factors, to include technology, the ability of a nation to generate and assimilate the required technology, resources, availability, distribution and as is the case in most cutting edge endeavours, vision. "

-Gen(Retd) Ronald Fogleman




By simply making devices lighter and smaller, the soldier can be made more mobile and have a smaller logistical footprint. The average present-day soldier carries in excess of 40 kgs of equipment while on assignment. Much of this weight is due to the electronic equipment including communication equipment and the power supplies usually batteries used to power them. Through the use of smaller, lighter equipment, this weight could be reduced without sacrificing functionality. The soldier could therefore move more quickly and cover large distance in the same amount of time.

The communication network for modern battle field has grown to include the ability to gather information in real time and relay that information directly to various point of contact. Wireless communication technologies have always aimed such that computation and communication to be always available, is user friendly and the devices are mobile. Mobility implies that the device has to be of a limited size and there is a restriction on the power consumption.

Requirement of seamless connectivity with other devices has lead to the requirement for increased data rate of the wireless links. Intelligence, sensing, context awareness, and increased data rates require more memory and computing power, which together with the size limitations leads to severe challenges in thermal management.

Requirements discussed above cannot be achieved with the current technologies. Nanotechnology could provide solutions for sensing, actuation, radio, embedding intelligence into the environment, power efficient computing, memory, energy sources, human-machine interaction, materials, mechanics, manufacturing, and environmental issues.

The areas of impact of nanotechnology on wireless communication can be classified as follows:-

Advanced Sensor Technology.

Solutions for Radio Sets.

Memory devices with increased storage capacity and low power consumption.

Development of user interfaces and interaction solutions.

Power and thermal management of future wireless communication devices.

Effect of Nanotechnology on Communication Hardware.

Advanced Sensor Technology

The major impact of nanotechnology on communication in the modern battlefield is in embedded sensor technologies. Nanotechnology may also augment the sensory skills of soldier based on wearable or embedded sensors. It can also help to develop intelligent devices where learning is one of the key characteristic properties of the system, similarly to biological systems which grows and adapt to the environment autonomously. Nanotechnology will also provide solutions for sensors that are robust in harsh battlefield environment.

Miniaturised sensor units based on nanotechnology would allow the battlefield management system to monitor unseen threats like toxin exposures and internal injuries. By incorporating wireless technology into the sensor units, these passive/active sensors can be easily accessed and addressed using wireless protocols so as to function as a standalone system. This advanced wireless sensor technology will allow continuous monitoring of the war-fighter with instant feedback to medical and command personnel, enabling the data to be monitored in real time while providing vital information. [36] 

With the evolution of nanotechnology and the enhanced capability of merging biology with electronics, a vast avenue to develop wide varieties of powerful materials and systems for sensing and rapid identification of chemicals and toxins becomes possible. Sensor design and development are enhanced using nanotechnologies by improving detector sensitivities (signal to noise ratios), miniaturizing sensor arrays for selectivity, and increasing surface area for better detection/absorption. [37] 

These sensor systems and sensor arrays can also be used toward the detection and identification of improvised explosive devices (IED).

Solutions for Radio Sets

Radio Frequency Operation in GHz Frequency range. In GHz frequency range radio communication faces challenges like limited range, interference and processing speed. Nanotechnology and scaling allows building of systems with large number of nanoscale resonators. This type of system can make spectral processing in radio frequency domain feasible which is required for high data rate wireless communication system. [38] 

Antenna. Nanotechnology offers new possibilities for antennas, by reducing the size and in turn increasing the electromagnetic dissipation. By tailoring magnetic nanoparticle we can reduce the losses and tune the electrical characteristics to optimal values.

Memory: Increased Storage Capacity and Low Power Consumption.

Nanotechnology will assist in fabrication of tiny switches out of silicon and also the fabricating mechanical switches that are thousands of times thinner than a human hair, resulting in memory with higher data storage capacity, increased processing speed and more energy efficient.

Taking into consideration the requirements for mass storage, the use of memory in portable, the limitation of size and the most promising choices for future memories are probe storage memories and phase change memory. Nanotechnology may open solutions for memories in the field of probe storage memories and phase change memory.

Development of User Interfaces and Interaction Solutions.

As the structure gets smaller and thinner, there will be an increase in demand for the requirement for the user interface technologies like displays, keyboard and overall integration of the user interface. Furthermore the concept of the future intelligent environments requires novel means to interact with the smart spaces and to use the personal wireless device as a user interface in this interaction. [39] 

Nanotechnology promises the development of user interface and interaction solutions which includes intelligent sensors, novel means to create actuation and new ways to integrate sensors and actuators into the structural parts of the devices. [40] 

Power and Thermal Management of Future Wireless Communication Devices.

Power Management. Nanotechnologies will contribute towards development of energy and power sources with higher efficiency. Large surface area of nanostructured materials is beneficial for battery technologies, fuel cells and for different power harvesting devices. Nanotechnology also promises to develop hybrid energy solutions and may create a totally new kind of energy sources for autonomous systems. It promises to contribute to the deployment of distributed sensor networks and environmental intelligence.

Thermal Management. Future wireless devices will have increased power dissipation densities due to miniaturisation which can cause excessive temperatures, if not taken into account and addressed appropriately. On the other hand, the advance of nanotechnology may provide novel cooling methods, such as greatly improved super lattice thermoelectric coolers. Transfer towards nano scale thus provides us both with new challenges as well as opportunities. [41] 

Effect on Communication Hardware.

Nanotechnology can have profound effect on the communications capabilities for the war fighters indirectly through basic electronic hardware enhancement. It can have an impact on basic electronic communication hardware through advanced chip design and advanced electronic packaging methods.

As the trend of device miniaturization driven by miniaturization of electronic components continues, it will allow designing the device architectures in a new way, more effectively applying novel material and manufacturing techniques. Nanotechnology might bring new solutions for communications devices towards thermal management and optimal RF performance by providing rigid thin wall structural part, effective integration of electronics to device mechanics and optimised design with multifunctional materials.

Impact on Communications in the Modern Battle Field.

Today's soldier in a modern battle field is faced with many challenges pertaining to the weight to be carried due to the increased amount of equipment and supplies required for combat. As soldiers in modern battle field are equipped with the state of the art electronics, the power requirements for the soldier have increased tremendously. This increased need in power has increased the weight soldier need to carry. Therefore new technology designs must also take into account power and weight requirements. Here is where nanotechnology as brought out in this chapter can make the largest impact on communications in the modern battle field.

Wireless technology is rapidly advancing, affecting many communication paths including those used by the current war-fighter. The use of nanotechnology can significantly impact the continuation of this acceleration of advanced technology. Nanotechnologies have the ability to enhance communications for the war-fighter directly, through specific device advancement such as in the enhancement of sensor technology and power, and indirectly through basic electronic enhancement.

The use of nanotechnologies can not only reduce the size and weight of portable communication devices but have the ability to add functionality and reduce power demand. Nanotechnology can lead to solutions in the areas of integrated sensing devices, increased power capability and enhanced body monitoring systems. Examples of these advancements include nanotechnology based wearable computers and sensors that can be embedded in clothing or placed in direct contact to the body to provide a truly network-centric battlefield and to monitor threats that can range from toxin exposure to war-fighter fatigue. The future soldier would be equipped with a Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) consisting of a number of wireless products communicating with each other through multi functional embedded sensors. These systems would have the ability to gather and exchange data, while providing the soldier with essential information on a real time basis. This type of enhanced communication capability would allow the soldier to be connected at all times to the centric warfare system, his commander, the distributed sensor network on the battlefield and his fellow soldiers.

" the mother of our invention."

-From The Republic by Plato (c 370 B.C.)




The potential of nanotechnology is limitless in the field of cellular, molecular and atomic scale process. Revolutionary detection capabilities, such as real time biological threat detection are now achievable. More exciting development will take place in future which will advance the state of the art and in the process, provide defence forces an additional edge over adversaries in the modern battlefield.


Modern Battlefield The future soldier needs nanotechnology to reduce the weight per unit or per volume unity and needs lower electric power demand per specific function. He can use the properties of nanoparticles or nanofibers to create a large surface area (for sensors, absorption). Furthermore he will make use of more multi-functional structures in the future with mechanical, opto-electric, chemical and biological functions and he will have a biotic/abiotic interface between body and equipment. The future combat soldier should be self-supporting, highly lethal, equipped with additional and supportive intelligence, protected against all kinds of impacts (ballistics, bioagents, chemical agents). Nanotechnology will probably lead to solutions in the areas of body armour, insulation and ventilation, camouflage (IR, visible), integrated sensing devices and enhanced body monitoring and care systems.

Impact on Information Warfare Nano-electronics will lead to a lower power consumption per process on microchips, to a better signal to noise ratio, to higher processing speeds and shorter transit times and to a higher function density. Dominance on informatics and information control technology can thus be reached by developing and using nano electronics for devices with high computing power at small scale and low-power consumption (for sensor networks, artificial intelligence, brain-machine interfaces etc.) and micro or nano sensor arrays for fast recognition of NBC threats on the battlefield by soldiers and sensor networks.

Impact on Nano-Sensors Nanotechnology is needed for improved detector sensitivities, to miniaturize sensor arrays for selectivity, to tailor-make high-surface area materials for detection / absorption / deactivation and to create selective catalysts. Microsystems technology and nanotechnology will therefore enable small portable sensor systems capable of identifying Chemical, Bio, Nuclear, Radiation or Energy threats. This will enhance the flexibility of deployment, operations and increase the safety of soldiers and civilians and will enhance the environmental security.


Need for coordinated partnership between DRDO, Armed Forces and Civil Industries. Looking to the near term future, it is not necessary for Indian Armed Forces or DRDO to launch a major research programme in nanotechnology. Worldwide investments in nanotechnology research are already large and are set to grow stimulated by potentially vast available market for products.

However, DRDO should undertake technology watch of nanotechnology, to determine its benefit for Indian Armed Forces. To be an effective technology watcher and obtain key information from the international research community in particular, DRDO will need to sponsor some nanotechnology research on topics of defence significance. Majority of research is currently taking place in universities, DRDO sponsored research will involve close working with these universities, which in turn provide a link to international research scene.

Nanotechnology will almost certainly affect our lives and have major impact on modern battle field. We must not miss the vital opportunities it offers nor be caught off guard by new threats.

In addition to developing knowledge of science and technology, IHQ Defence should work with other agencies in the force development, concepts, doctrines, equipment, policy and intelligence areas.

The Armed Forces Must Meet the Challenge The advancement in research and increasing complexity of Nanotechnology applications will put enormous amount of strains on the capability of the defence forces to adapt to an uncertain future of application of Nanotechnology and simultaneously has to carry out the mandate of national security. The Defence Forces must adapt to changes and continuously transform itself not only technologically, but also in its organization, doctrine, training, and leadership. Training is the key to continuous transformation. Both individuals and organisations must become increasingly better at learning and modifying their way of working in light of new technology. This is another subject beyond the scope of this Dissertation. However, the discussion must be joined now because the unrelenting advance of technology cannot be stopped.