The Effects of Nanotechnology on Modern Society – Asvin, Grade 9

The Effects of Nanotechnology on Modern Society

When Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer found a way to look at atoms in 1981, little did they know that they were changing the very idea of what was possible! Since this breakthrough, nanotechnology has been growing at an exceptional rate and is enabling humans to do things that could not be even dreamt of in the past. Such examples include the creation of smartphones, more effective treatments for many diseases, including cancer, and more efficient manufacturing of products. The miniaturization of technology to the nanoscale has opened the door to thousands of possibilities on the smallest scale, and on the largest scales, revolutionizing the healthcare, communication, and the quality of many modern manufactured products; ultimately, nanotechnology has not only brought technology to the next level but also created paths for the world that were not there before. 

Nanotechnology is the reason that healthcare is improving so drastically. In fact, nanotechnology is the technology that allows more and more humans to be saved every day. For instance, according to a study conducted at Washington State University, researchers have developed a precise and non-toxic nanoscale technology that can deliver oncology drugs directly to cancer cells through the use of tubes called “peptoids” (Terry). As a result of the outstanding results produced by the peptoids, they are now widely used in chemotherapy. In addition, nanotechnology has also paved the path for modern vaccine development. “Despite the vast improvement in conventional vaccines, improvements are clearly required due to concerns about the weak immunogenicity of these vaccines, intrinsic instability in vivo, toxicity, and the need for multiple administrations” (Kim). To overcome such problems, nanotechnology platforms have been incorporated into vaccinations. “Nanotechnology benefits modern vaccine design since nanomaterials are ideal for antigen delivery, as adjuvants, and as mimics of viral structures. In fact, the first vaccine candidate for COVID 19 is an mRNA vaccine delivered via lipid nanoparticles. To eradicate pandemics, a successful vaccine platform must enable rapid discovery, scalable manufacturing and global distribution.” (Shin). By integrating nanotechnology into modern vaccinations, vaccinations will now have the ability to adapt rapidly according to the circumstances and thus being able to kill off most intruders in the body. These applications of nanotechnology in medicine show that without the use of nanotechnology, many lives would be lost and the medical field would not be as strong as it is today. 

Nanotechnology has created a social network for humans in which people can interact with one another regardless of distance. In the past, people could not even dream about communication with people who were even a few hundred metres away; however, with nanotechnology, people are communicating with others that are thousands of kilometres away from them with quite literally, a few clicks. For instance, one type of nanotechnology that is crucial for such advanced and sophisticated technology to exist is the transistor, a semiconductor device for amplifying, controlling, and generating electrical signals. In a transistor, there are usually three electrical leads: the emitter, the collector, and the base—or, in modern switching applications, the source, the drain, and the gate. An electrical signal applied to the base (or gate) influences the transistor’s ability to conduct the electrical current which flows between the emitter (or source) and collector (or drain) in most applications. A voltage source such as an outlet drives the current while the rate of current flow through the transistor at any given moment is governed by an input signal at the gate—much as a faucet valve is used to regulate the flow of water through a garden hose (Riordan). The first commercial use of transistors was for “pocket radios” in the 1950s. “With their small size and low power consumption, transistors were desirable substitutes for the vacuum tubes (known as “valves” in Great Britain) then used to amplify weak electrical signals and produce audible sounds” (Riordan). Transistors have also been used to replace vacuum tubes in the oscillator circuits used to generate radio signals especially after specialized structures were developed to handle the higher frequencies and power levels involved. Since then, transistors have also been used in several applications to improve communication such as phones, computers, Bluetooth devices, etc. In addition, another type of nanotechnology that is crucial for modern technology to exist is an intel core processor, without which, smartphones, laptops, certain robots, or most of the modern technology that humans have become accustomed to would not be possible. An intel core processor is a computer processor that is used for high-end laptops, computers, tablets, etc. A CPU or computer processor unit is a small chip that resides in computers and other electronics whose job is to receive input and provide the appropriate output. While this may seem like a simple task, most modern processors can handle trillions of calculations per second (Christensson). As a result of intel core processors, modern devices are able to perform trillions of calculation per second which is needed in order to utilize platforms that enable people to perform long-distance communication. These are some examples of nanotechnology that have improved communication greatly.

Not only has nanotechnology drastically improved healthcare and created a social network, but it has also revolutionized the quality of many modern manufactured products while keeping the cost at a fair price. For example, nanotechnology has improved vehicle fuel efficiency and corrosion resistance through the use of nanocomposite materials, which are lighter, stronger, and more chemically resistant than metal (Crawford). Nanocomposite materials are hybrid materials produced by the mixtures of polymers with inorganic solids at the nanoscale. Because of nanocomposites, many manufactured products that are used extensively today, such as cars, home appliances, and medical tools, are much lighter as well as more durable than before. Furthermore, in order to increase the strength of manufactured materials, nanoparticle deposition systems are also used in the manufacturing of many products. Nanoparticle deposition refers to the process of attaching nanoparticles to solid surfaces called substrates to create coatings of nanoparticles which increases the strength of the solid that the nanoparticles are attached to. “For example, in 2015, Modumetal invented a nano-coating process that increases the strength of steel by as much as tenfold” (Nanotechnology and Manufacturing). By using nanoparticle deposition systems, many solid structures have their strength increased very much and as a result, making them much more useful than usual. As a result of nanotechnology, the quality of manufactured items has been revolutionized to the point that it is unrecognizable from when nanotechnology did not exist. 

Before the age of nanotechnology, there were undoubtedly many limits that technology faced but after the birth of nanotechnology, those limits have been shattered! Nanotechnology by itself is useful, but by integrating nanotechnology into different fields, it has become the greatest breakthrough in history! Fields of work that were already sophisticated have been refined further not only saving more people but also improving communication and increasing the quality of manufactured products. Ultimately, the birth of nanotechnology has not only improved many popular and important fields of work, but it has also opened new paths for humanity required to evolve further.