Nanotechnology The Next Really Big Small Thing Computer Science Essay

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In recent years NanoTechnology has become one of the most important and exciting forefront fields in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, and Biology. It shows great promise for providing us in the near future with many breakthroughs that will change the direction of technological advances in a wide range of applications.

The present paper deals with the Introduction of NanoTechnology ,its Application in various fields and highlighting one of its application in Computers.

Introduction To NanoTechnology:

Origin of Nanotechnology :

The Concept of NanoTechnology was first coined by Richard Feynman in 1959 in his lecture " There's plenty of room at the bottom". Imagining the whole Encyclopedia Britannica written on head of a pin.

What is NANO….?

The prefix Nano in the word NanoTechnology means a billionth (1 x 10-9). The formal definition of nanotechnology is anything below 100 nanometers.

NanoTechnology is the field of applied science whose theme is control of matter on an atomic or molecular scale. That is, it involves the manipulation of objects on the atomic level. Products will be built with every atom in the right place, allowing materials to be lighter, stronger, smarter, cheaper, cleaner and more precise.

Nanotechnology is based on the recognition that particles less than the size of 100 nm impart to nanostructures built from them new properties and behavior.

  Imagine chips embedded in the human body reporting every body movement and just waiting to strike at those nasty bacterial invaders, clothing smart enough to monitor our health and save us from environmental hazards ,huge building and machine having the capability to repair and adjust themselves to the vagaries of environment or a regular wrist watch doubling up as super computer. Thanks to the nanotechnology all of these wonders and many more can be possible. 

While the word nanotechnology is relatively new, the existence of functional devices and structures of nanometer dimensions is not new, and in fact such structures have existed on Earth as long as life itself. It is not clear when humans first began to take advantage of

nanosized materials. It is known that in the fourth century A.D. Roman glassmakers were fabricating glasses containing nanosized metals. Lycurgus cup which resides in the British museum in London is an artifact from that period. It is customary to define nanoparticles or nanostructures as entities in the range of sizes from 1 to 100 nm (which is considered as the nanoscale), so many biological materials are classified as nanoparticles. Proteins (4 and 50 nm in size) are one of such structures.

Architecture of nanotechnology:

 The biggest plans for our future are very very small.Nanotechnology has the potential to radically alter our built environment and how we live.It is potentially the most transformative technology we have ever faced,generating more research and debate than nuclearweapons,space travel,computers or any of the other technologies that have shaped our lives.

Structure of NanoTechnology:

NanoTechnology depends on Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer science, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

Approaches to reach to NanoTechnology:

There are two approaches for the preparation of Nanostructures,

Bottom-Up Approach

Top-Down Approach

One approach to the preparation of a nanostructure, called the bottom-up approach, is to collect, consolidate and fashion individual atoms and molecules into the structure. For example, nearly 20 amino acids are tied together one after the other by strong peptide chemical bonds to construct a Protein.

The opposite approach to the preparation of nanostructures is called the top-down approach, which starts with the large-scale object or pattern and gradually reduces its dimensions. Lithography techniques are used in this approach.

With NanoTechnology, a large set of materials and improved products rely on a change in the physical properties when the feature sizes are shrunk. Nanoparticles for example take advantage of their dramatically increased surface area to volume ratio. Nanotechnologically enhanced materials will enable a weight reduction accompanied by an increase in stability and an improved functionality.

With more and more frequency, nanotechnology is being offered to the public as a transformative technology, with the potential to improve every aspect of our social, physical, and economic well-being.

The Impact of Nanotechnology on Modern Life - Applications:

Nanotechnology has a great impact on everyday's life, as it has wide range of applications in the field of Medicine, Energy, Heavy Industry, Consumer Goods, Agriculture, Defence and the list goes on.. few of them are discussed here.


The biological and medical research communities have exploited the unique properties of nanomaterials for various applications (e.g., cell imaging and cancer treatment using NanoRobots)


Fig.cell imaging

Functionalities can be added to nanomaterials by interfacing them with biological molecules or structures,the integration of nanomaterials with biology has led to the development of diagnostic devices, physical therapy applications, tissue engineering and drug delivery vehicles.


The most advanced nanotechnology projects related to energy are: storage, conversion, manufacturing improvements by reducing materials and process rates, energy saving (by better thermal insulation for example), recycling of batteries and enhanced renewable energy sources.

Information and communication

Current high-technology production processes are based on traditional top down strategies, where nanotechnology has already been introduced silently. The critical length scale of integrated circuits is already at the nanoscale (50 nm and below) regarding the gate length of transistors in CPUs or DRAM devices. NanoTechnology helps in production of high capacity memory storage devices(Nano-RAM), Memory chip with a projected density of one terabyte of memory per square inch or greater, Novel optoelectronic devices,in the modern communication technology traditional analog electrical devices are increasingly replaced by optical or optoelectronic devices due to their enormous bandwidth and capacity, respectively. Two promising examples are photonic crystals and quantum dots.

Quantum computers

Entirely new approaches for computing exploit the laws of quantum mechanics for novel quantum computers, which enable the use of fast quantum algorithms. The Quantum computer has quantum bit memory space termed "Qubit" for several computations at the same time. This facility may improve the performance of the older systems.

Heavy Industry

An inevitable use of nanotechnology will be in heavy industry.


Lighter and stronger materials will be of immense use to aircraft manufacturers, leading to increased performance. Spacecraft will also benefit, where weight is a major factor. Nanotechnology would help to reduce the size of equipment and thereby decrease fuel-consumption required to get it airborne.

Hang gliders may be able to halve their weight while increasing their strength and toughness through the use of nanotech materials. Nanotech is lowering the mass of supercapacitors that will increasingly be used to give power to assistive electrical motors for launching hang gliders off flatland to thermal-chasing altitudes.


Nanotechnology has the potential to make construction faster, cheaper, safer, and more varied. Automation of nanotechnology construction can allow for the creation of structures from advanced homes to massive skyscrapers much more quickly and at much lower cost.


Using nanotech applications, refineries producing materials such as steel and aluminium will be able to remove any impurities in the materials they create.

Vehicle manufacturers

Much like aerospace, lighter and stronger materials will be useful for creating vehicles that are both faster and safer. Combustion engines will also benefit from parts that are more hard-wearing and more heat-resistant.

Consumer goods

Nanotechnology is already impacting the field of consumer goods, providing products with novel functions ranging from easy-to-clean to scratch-resistant. Modern textiles are wrinkle-resistant and stain-repellent; in the mid-term clothes will become "smart", through embedded "wearable electronics". Already in use are different nanoparticle improved products. Especially in the field of cosmetics, such novel products have a promising potential.


The most prominent application of nanotechnology in the household is self-cleaning or "easy-to-clean" surfaces on ceramics or glasses. Nanoceramic particles have improved the smoothness and heat resistance of common household equipment such as the flat iron.


The first sunglasses using protective and anti-reflective ultrathin polymer coatings are on the market. For optics, nanotechnology also offers scratch resistant surface coatings based on nanocomposites. Nano-optics could allow for an increase in precision of pupil repair and other types of laser eye surgery.


The use of engineered nanofibers already makes clothes water- and stain-repellent or wrinkle-free. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. Nanocoated Pants that repel water Clothes that keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Nanotechnology also offers light weight bullet proof materials for military applications.


One field of application is in sunscreens. The traditional chemical UV protection approach suffers from its poor long-term stability. A sunscreen based on mineral nanoparticles such as titanium dioxide offer several advantages.


Applications of nanotechnology have the potential to change the entire agriculture sector and food industry chain from production to conservation, processing, packaging, transportation, and even waste treatment. NanoScience concepts and Nanotechnology applications have the potential to redesign the production cycle, restructure the processing and conservation processes and redefine the food habits of the people.

Major Challenges related to agriculture like Low productivity in cultivable areas, Large uncultivable areas,Shrinkage of cultivable lands, Wastage of inputs like water, fertilizers, pesticides, Wastage of products and of course Food security for growing numbers can be addressed through various applications of nanotechnology.

Application Of NanoTechnology in Computer Science


Faster,samller,lighter computers and an end to worries about electrical failures is possible with the help of NanoTechnology.

A nanocomputer is a computer whose physical dimensions are microscopic. The field of nanocomputing is part of the emerging field of nanotechnology . Several types of nanocomputers have been suggested or proposed by researchers and futurists.

Electronic nanocomputers would operate in a manner similar to the way present-day microcomputers work. The main difference is one of physical scale. More and more transistor s are squeezed into silicon chips with each passing year; witness the evolution of integrated circuits ( IC s) capable of ever-increasing storage capacity and processing power. The ultimate limit to the number of transistors per unit volume is imposed by the atomic structure of matter. Most engineers agree that technology has not yet come close to pushing this limit. In the electronic sense, the term nanocomputer is relative. By 1970s standards, today's ordinary microprocessors might be called nanodevices.

Fig.Nanocomputer-two coins sized

Chemical and biochemical nanocomputers would store and process information in terms of chemical structures and interactions. Biochemical nanocomputers already exist in nature; they are manifest in all living things. But these systems are largely uncontrollable by humans. We cannot, for example, program a tree to calculate the digits of pi , or program an antibody to fight a particular disease (although medical science has come close to this ideal in the formulation of vaccines, antibiotics, and antiviral medications). The development of a true chemical nanocomputer will likely proceed along lines similar to genetic engineering. Engineers must figure out how to get individual atoms and molecules to perform controllable calculations and data storage tasks.

Mechanical nanocomputers would use tiny moving components called nanogears to encode information. Such a machine is reminiscent of Charles Babbage 's analytical engines of the 19th century. For this reason, mechanical nanocomputer technology has sparked controversy; some researchers consider it unworkable. All the problems inherent in Babbage's apparatus, according to the naysayers, are magnified a millionfold in a mechanical nanocomputer. Nevertheless, some futurists are optimistic about the technology, and have even proposed the evolution of nanorobots that could operate, or be controlled by, mechanical nanocomputers.

A quantum nanocomputer would work by storing data in the form of atomic quantum states or spin. Technology of this kind is already under development in the form of single-electron memory (SEM) and quantum dots. The energy state of an electron within an atom , represented by the electron energy level or shell, can theoretically represent one, two, four, eight, or even 16 bits of data. The main problem with this technology is instability. Instantaneous electron energy states are difficult to predict and even more difficult to control. An electron can easily fall to a lower energy state, emitting a photon ; conversely, a photon striking an atom can cause one of its electrons to jump to a higher energy state.

Today, computer chips are made using lithography - literally, "stone writing." If the computer hardware revolution is to continue at its current pace, in a decade or so we'll have to move beyond lithography to some new post lithographic manufacturing technology. Ultimately, each logic element will be made from just a few atoms.

Designs for computer gates with less than 1,000 atoms have already been proposed - but each atom in such a small device has to be in exactly the right place. To economically build and interconnect trillions upon trillions of such small and precise devices in a complex three dimensional pattern we'll need a manufacturing technology well beyond today's lithography: we'll need nanotechnology.

The promise of nanotechnology :

More powerful computers and information storage devices

Fast chemical analyses using minute quantities of materials

New approaches for medical diagnosis, treatment, and drug delivery

New catalysts for cleaner,more efficient chemicaland energy industries

New materials 100 times as strong as current materials

New technologies for energy production and conversion (fuelcells, solid-state lighting, photovoltaics)

How long?

The single most frequently asked question about nanotechnology is: How long? How long before it will let us make molecular computers? How long before inexpensive solar cells let us use clean solar power instead of oil, coal, and nuclear fuel? How long before we can explore space at a reasonable cost?

If we pursue it systematically, it will happen sooner. If we ignore it, or simply hope that someone will stumble over it, it will take much longer. And by using theoretical, computational and experimental approaches together, we can reach the goal more quickly and reliably than by using any single approach alone.


Nanotechnology helps to understand the world around us, and will provide inspiration and drive for many generations of scientists. Thus the future generation is going to continue the fantastic voyage with Nano technology in advanced level making life easier. Nanotechnology is prediced to be developed by 2020 but much depends on our commitment to its research.

While some advances are made through serendipitous accidents or a flash of insight, others require more work. It seems unlikely that a scientist would forget to turn off the Bunsen burner in his lab one afternoon and return to find he'd accidentally made a Space Shuttle.

Like the first human landing on the moon, or the development of the modern computer, the development of molecular manufacturing will require the coordinated efforts of many people for many years. A lot depends on when we start. But all we need to make our life less effort and more comfort is NanoTechnology.