Week 9_Nanotechnology_Wei-Yi Lin

On Thursday, Professor James Gimzewsk from the Chemistry department came by and gave us a brief lecture on nanotechnology; in particular, the fullerene and its affiliates. I am not surprised why professor Gimaewsk placed a greater emphasis on the fullerene instead of nanotechnology itself because it is a term inspired, as most engineers would claim defensively against chemists, by mechanical engineers and material scientists. However, it is still a laboratorial technique that has not yet matured and many of its applications, in either medical or engineering, are still in the phase of research and development. Having said that, the fullerene, also know as the “buckyball”, is a successful example to illustrate how molecules can be altered or designed by nanotechnology. This process has been prove, accepted, and credited by international community and has won its creator a Nobel Price in Chemistry. But why is nanotechnology important? Ok… so what’s the big deal to make things super tiny small when we have to pay so much extra as a result? Ultimately, it’s nanotechnology necessary?

We have been discussing nothing but the positive effects about how nanotechnology can help to improve medical treatment. We should also pay an equal attention to the increase in consequence brought by this technology. For instance, the exponential increase in the rate of diffusion of drug molecules into the bloodstream can adversely increase of risk of death due to drug poisoning. Moreover, nanotechnological products required extra handling since molecules of such content can easily diffuse into human body through the cell membrane on human skin. Also, molecules at this scale would easily react with the moist in the air and airborne. Certainly, I believe there are concerns about the technology especially in the medical field that are yet discussed.

In the engineering field, nanofabricatied materials have been successfully implemented with alloys and ceramics. One of them is the high-temperature superconductor. Because of low electric impedance, superconductor has a low emission of energy due to heat loss.

By Wei-Yi Lin

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