From Lab to Life: Nanotechnology and Its Real-World Applications

From Lab to Life

Invisible particles that fight cancer cells, faster microprocessors that consume lesser energy, batteries that last 10 times solar panels and longer that captiluate twice as much energy. These are just a few of the numerous applications of nanotechnology, a discipline with all the ingredients to turn up into the next manufacturing revolution.


This technological branch manipulates the molecular structure of stuff to change the intrinsic properties and obtain others with entire applications. This is the case of graphene —alter, lighter than almost transparent and aluminium— or nanoparticles utilized in spaces like electronics, energy, defence and biomedicine.

In 1959 the American Nobel prize and physicist Richard Feynman was the foremost to speak about nanotechnology applications at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). With the 21st century, this space consolidated, was sella and came into its own. It includes other spaces like micro-manufacturing, molecular biology and organic chemistry. In the United States alone, for example, more than 18 billion dollars were put in between 2001 and 2013 through the NNI  to turn out this sector into a drive of economic competitiveness and growth.

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The different types of nanotechnology are classified as per to how they proceed (top-down or bottom-up) and the medium in which they working (wet or dry):

• Descending (top-down)

Structures and Mechanisms are miniaturising at the nanometric scale — from one to 100 nanometres in size —. It is the most especially in, frequent to date electronics.

• Ascending (bottom-up)

You begin with the nanometric structure — a molecule, for example — and through a mounting or self-assembly procedure you develop a huger mechanism than the one you began with.

• Dry nanotechnology

It is utilized to manufacture structures in coal, inorganic materials, silicon, semiconductors and metals that do not work with humidity.

• Wet nanotechnology

It is based on biological systems accessible in an aqueous environment — including membranes, genetic material, other cellular components and enzymes—.

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Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology could be applied in all types of industrial sectors. They are normally found in these zones:


Carbon nanotubes are near to replacing silicon as a material to make faster, smaller and more efficient devices and microchips, along with lighter, more stronger and conductive quantum nanowires. Graphene’s properties make it a perfect candidate for the evolution of flexible touchscreens.


A new semiconductor developed by some University making it possible to manufacture solar panels that double the amount of sunlight electricity converted into. Nanotechnology also lowers costs, produces lighter and stronger wind turbines, refines fuel efficiency and, thanks to the thermal insulation of few nanocomponents, do save energy.


The properties of few nanomaterials make them perfect to refine earlier treatment and diagnosis of neurodegenerative cancer and diseases. They are able to charge cancer cells in a selective way without harming other healthy cells. Some nanoparticles have also been utilized to intensify pharmaceutical products like sunscreen.


Air purification with wastewater purification, ions with nanofiltration and nanobubbles systems for heavy metals are few of its environmentally-friendly applications. Nanocatalysts are also accessible to make chemical reactions more less polluting and efficient.


In this zone, nanobiosensors could be utilized to detect the pathogens presence in nanocomposites and food to refine food production by increasing thermal and mechanical resistance and decreasing oxygen transfer in packaging products.


Nanotechnology makes it possible to create smart fabrics that don’t wrinkle and stain, along with stronger, lighter and more durable stuff to make sports equipment and motorcycle helmets.

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There are dark and bright spots in the nanotechnology future. On the one hand, the sector is expected to progress globally, driven by technological advances, increased government support, growing and increased personal investment demand for tiny devices, to name a few. However, the environmental, safety and health risks of nanotechnology and concerns connected to its commercialisation are hampering market expansion.

Germany, United States, Brazil would lead the nanotechnology industry in 2024, with a significant presence in the Top 15 Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and India. The cosmetics sector would climb positions to steal third place from the biomedical sector in the ranking that would be led by energy and electronics, as it is now.

After more than 20 years of basic nanoscience research and more than fifteen years of aimed R&D under the NNI, applications of nanotechnology are delivered in both unexpected and expected manners on nanotechnology’s promise to gain society.

Nanotechnology is supporting considerably refined, even revolutionizing, many industry sectors and technology: information technology, homeland security, food, transportation, energy, medicine, environmental science and safety, among numerous others. Described below is a sample of the rapidly growing list of applications and benefits of nanotechnology.

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