This week’s nanotechnology lectures were actually very interesting to me.  There have been many significant waves in the history of science, such as the discovery of electricity, modern computing, integrated circuits, nuclear power, quantum mechanics, etc., and it seems like nanotechnology is the newest one.  After learning about the basics of nanotechnology, I have a deeper understanding of the idea of “top-down processing,” or as I like to call it, “how small can we make this?”  From the nano-abacus to the nano-radio, it seems like reinventing something when you’re making it 9 powers of ten smaller.  In addition to top-down processing, I learned about the other aspect of nanotechnology that’s not so obvious: going from simple to complex.  Our modern chemistry has advanced to a point where it is possible to synthesize nearly any structure of molecules.  Now, modern chemistry is focused on synthesizing extremely complex structures through the use of self-assembling molecules, such as the carbon nano-tube or fullerene.  The race to control matter on an atomic scale is on.
File:Types of Carbon Nanotubes.png

Carbon nanotubes have many distinct uses.  For example, carbon nanotubes can be engineered to deliver drugs in a person’s body, as a solar cell, in motors, to make extremely powerful capacitors, in touch-screens and flexible displays, as a versatile component in circuit boards, to treat cancer, and to detect certain chemicals in the air.  One example of the uses of carbon nanotubes is the Nokia Morph concept video we watched in section.  It amazes me that so many different features, such as the flexible telephone screen, the real 3-D buttons, and the hydrophobic surface, can be created from different arrangements of rings of carbon atoms.

Interesting videos on nanotechnology:

Military Nanotechnology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pNbF29l9Zg&feature=related

Nanotechnology Running Shoes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouFvryyYVTA

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