Week 9 - Nanotechnology by Adriana Rosas

I never really knew what nanotechnology really was. I always associated nanotechnology with technology that was really small, but did not have a full understanding of the subject. After this week’s lecture, however, I learned that it is defined as being the engineering of functional systems at a molecular scale. On a more relative note, one nanometer can be compared to one-hundred thousand times thinner than a strand of hair.

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Because of innovative thinking and the creation of nano-particles is possible, the medical field, space exploration, the electronic market, and energy production are all able to expand. For example, with the help of nanotechnology, scientists have begun research on a nano-particle that can diagnose cancer. Nano-particles would also be used to recognize the molecular signatures of cancers and adhere to hidden cancerous cells (making them visible to an MRI or fluorescent light).Not only would these particles be accurate and cheap, but they could also be linked to anti body that can recognize cancer cells and be taken in by the tumor. The particle would then release a type for inferred light into the tumor which would ultimately get rid of the tumor without harming neighboring cells. Additionally, researchers are trying to find a cure for Parkinson ’s disease by replacing organs such as kidneys and lungs that have been destructed by this disease, with nanomaterials that will be effectively used as synthetic tissue.

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Contrary to its name, the possibilities of nanotechnology seem huge. Although it is a rather new field of subject that hasn’t been highly established yet, there is a lot of research underway that will have an extensive impact on our lives. Like I previously mentioned, finding a cure for cancer using nano-particles is an extremely important research topic. Another area where nanotechnology is being utilized is in environmental conservation. In what is known as greener nanotechnology, scientists use less toxic compounds to produce their experiments and research. In addition, research is under way of trying to reduce the world’s dependency of electrical power consumption using nanotechnology. However, all of the nano-technological research that must happen cannot take place without funding. Although all of these breakthroughs will eventually boost our countries economy and serve as an overall benefit in the medical, electrical, environmental, and astronomical fields, it is estimated that it will cost the average person millions of dollars. In a time of recession, we as a nation cannot afford such a huge budget. Hopefully in the future the funding will be made available to carry out these amazingly advanced projects.

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