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Nanotechnology Advancements: Where do we stand?



In 1959, long before the term #Nanotechnology was used, an American physicist named Richard Feynman came up with the concepts behind Nanoscience, in a talk called "There's plenty of room at the bottom", at the California Institute of Technology (see National Technology Initiative). He described processes in which scientists would be able to manipulate and control individual atoms and molecules. Thus, Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale.

Over the years, Nanotechnology was promising to revolutionize the way we construct things, along with pharmaceutical enterprises and in biochemistry; scientists were planning to eradicate diseases like cancer and the like, at a cellular level. But to be able to construct complex matter that we can interact with, only from knowing the building blocks, seems to be an impossible task. Scientists actually need to take into account the mechanism behind matter itself interconnecting to create bigger structures. That is the complexity of the science that we have not been able to master yet.



Nevertheless, there have been successes in using Nanotechnology techniques in the field of materials. For instance, engineers have discovered that introducing nano-scale carbon tubes into Kevlar (for Bulletproof vests), can prevent blunt trauma from bullets and blades. With items like sunscreens containing nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium oxide, Nanotechnology can be seen all around us not just in our computers and portable devices but also in foods like mayonnaise.

But scientists are going deeper by bringing the Nanotech techniques towards biology, medicines, and life itself. They are trying to understand the origin of life at a nanoscale; understand how could we construct a whole organism out of nanomachines. With the use of Machine Learning and #AI, they are able to learn and analyze how biological matter was built. One subfield of Nanotechnology is the field of Tissue Engineering.

Basically, it is getting human tissues, to be artificially created by bacteria. The tissues can then be produced for transplantation or just for the sake of understanding how the body works –– how the body builds tissues up. But with transplantation, patients experience rejection of the transplanted part by the body cells. According to Nanotechnology pioneer, Sonia Contera, researchers have found a way around this issue by seeding and cultivating cells from the patient, within the tissues from a healthy donor, mixed with collagen. The patient's cells grow and become one structure with the healthy tissues before being transplanted to the patient.


As the world evolves in the research and understanding of itself, Nanotechnology can be found at the heart of it all. As Democritus said "Nothing exists except for atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion".





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