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A Foray into the Multifaceted World of Nanotechnologies

Nanotechnology has many different facets. With the earlier examples, we have barely scratched the surface. There are many more areas where nanotechnology materials and applications will change the way products are manufactured or allow all kinds of multifunctional features to be combined in a product. Metamaterials are an excellent example. They are precisely engineered composite materials that gain their properties from their structure rather than directly from their composition. Metamaterials' properties are not found in naturally occurring materials and could be used to make light-bending invisibility cloaks, flat lenses and other otherwise impossible devices. With our technical capabilities today, the most advanced bottom-up nanotechnologies are a combination of chemical synthesis and self-assembly. But they already allow us to perform atomically precise manufacturing on a modest scale and this will lead to vastly improved materials, much more efficient manufacturing processes, and entirely new medical procedures. And we haven't yet seen the end of where nanotechnology “doing it Nature's way” will lead. Recent developments in DNA-based nanotechnology have shown the suitability of this novel assembly method for constructing useful nanostructures. DNA molecules can serve as precisely controllable and programmable scaffolds for organizing functional nanomaterials in the design, fabrication, and characterization of nanometer scale electronic devices and sensors. Another area that will be impacted in a huge way by nanoscale devices and applications is sensing, the buzzword here being smart dust. Smart dust refers to miniscule, even nanoscale, autonomous sensors, analytical systems (lab-on-chip, lab-on-fiber), or even robots, that could be linked into entire sensor networks. Smart dust detects data about light, temperature, chemicals, pressure, vibrations or any environmental parameters you could think of, and is capable of transmitting this data remotely.

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30 Aug 2016
Copyright year
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