Impact Of Nanotechnology On Communication Computer Science Essay

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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, be 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, humanâ€"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. [1] 

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. [2] 

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. [3] 

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. [4] 

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. [5] 

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. [6] 

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.

Imapct on Communications in the Modern Battle Field.

Today’s war-fighter is faced with many weight limitations due to the amount of equipment and supplies required for combat. As soldiers are wired up with the latest electronic gear, not only is the added weight a concern but the power issues have also increased concern. According to military experts, the power requirements for the ground soldier have tremendously increased in recent years. This increased need in power has also increased a soldier’s weight burden due to the need to carry backup power i.e. batteries. Therefore new technology designs must also take into account power and weight requirements. Here is where nanotechnology as seen 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.

Imapct on Future Soldier in the Modern Battle Field. [7] 

The future soldier-concept wireless soldier is 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, 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 centric warfare system, his commander, the distributed sensor network on the battlefield and his fellow soldiers. All technologies in black are available for integration within a period of 0-5 yrs, whereas the technologies in greyblue will become available in a timeframe of 10-15 years. 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, heartrate 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 above 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. The wireless system will be able to deliver therapeutic and medical treatment and possibly the soldier will in the distant future have cyborg-like functional enhancements (third arm, improved vision like the Aremac system in front of the eye).