Week 9: The Applications of Nanotechnology by Ricky Irwin

With the little knowledge I have on nanotechnology, I’ve always thought it was a science of the future, still in the stage of theory and experimentation. So after last week’s lecture and doing some additional research, it’s very fascinating to keep discovering new areas of daily life where nanotechnology has already reached. The furthest extent my knowledge of the subject went was nanotechnology in art, similar to the Obama heads in class, tiny recreations in an incredibly minute scale.

Since nanotechnology is so incredibly small that photographing it is impossible, the only way to make nano-art is to use devices like scanning electron microscopes, which are smaller than wavelengths of light and result in gray images, sometimes colored in post. The following “NanoMoth” by Ursula Freer created the art by first recognizing the pattern of the butterfly in the natural organic texture, and then coloring it afterwards to better suggest the shape.

17nanomoth

It seems that nanotechnology is not only affecting art itself, but also the preservation and restoration of it. It is used to create “nanocontainers” which use water and a cleaning agent to create micro-emulsions, a technique much milder and more environmentally-friendly than traditional restoration techniques.

In a world increasingly threatened by environmental damage and disorder, I think one of the most beneficial aspects of nanotechnology that I’ve researched are the benefits it brings in regards to the environment. A study done in the UK shows that with the following benefits, the benefits of nanotechnology can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20% by 2050. The report stated that with nanoparticle additives, the fuel efficiency of diesel engines can be increased by up to 5%, resulting of 2-3 million tons of CO2 saved in the UK alone. Also, nanotechnology has the potential to solve the problem of low range and power in electrical car batteries, with the aiblity to recharge a car in less than ten minutes, saving all the CO2 released from private transport.

I was also interested in how nanotechnology is being applied in the field of music. I discovered that composer Frederic Rzewski has combined nanotechnology with music to create Nanosonatas, Volume 1, which “compresses the form of 20- to 40-minute, 19th-century sonatas into seven three-minute segments,” or nano-notes, and he describes the music as sounding like the “changing pace of the nanomotor.”

Regardless of what it is applied to, it is very evident that improvements and innovations that once might have been deemed impossible now have open possibilities with the science of nanotechnology.

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/01/17/technology/20080117_NANOART_SLIDESHOW_7.html

http://www.physorg.com/news98469661.html

http://www.physorg.com/news114355106.html

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