Research in nanotechnology is exploding. This will affect all of us in the near future.
Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating individual atoms to create new materials. The prospects for this technology are mind-boggling. It is poised to change our lives as much, or possibly more than the introduction of the personal computer.
Manufacturers are embracing nanotechnology as a way to manipulate materials at a molecular level. This would mean that new products could be created without inefficient and time-consuming processes like milling, molding, and sanding. Medical researchers envision nano-robots that could travel though a person’s blood stream gobbling up plaque in arteries and tracking down and destroying cancerous cells.
IBM, Hewlett Packard, and others are currently working with nano-bits that will create new types of fiber optic light projections and molecular computer chips. Nanosys Inc., a small Palo Alto nanotechnology firm is creating a flat-panel TV with the electronic components built into the glass, and a type of solar power that could be integrated into normal home-building components.
Although Star-Trekien in nature, this manipulation of atoms is already being used commercially. Nanotechnology has produced wrinkle-free and stain-resistant fabrics, food packaging that keeps meat fresh longer, and self-cleaning windows.
In May of 2003 the U. S. House of Representatives earmarked $2.36 billion over three years to fund research on nanotechnology. Hopefully more funding is on the way. Government support for nanotechnology will enhance the nano-research that is sure to change our lives.