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Well, if you've been reading through the series so far then you'll be happy to read that we have now reached the much-anticipated applications section. Of course you might have just skipped straight here but that's okay with me.
So far we've covered some 30 topics that should have provided you with the background leading up to our discussion on applications. You'll finally see how all of the sciences, synthesis, tools, and structures come together to make nanotechnology work. I've reserved a majority of the discussion for medical and electronics goods. These are the two major areas where I see the most promise for the future.
Simply put, the realm of new materials and coatings is exciting, but does not take full advantage of the possibilities. I'll only cover one topic on this.
In medicine, nanotechnology will mix with biotechnology well because they operate on similar scales. Since many things in biology are on the microscopic scale, having things on the nanoscale within the body will mean better distribution of medical drugs, new protein engineering techniques, and the possibility of nanorobots that could repair your body from the inside out.
Electronics is currently the biggest focus in nanotechnology research. It's well known that modern semiconductor processes are approaching their fundamental limits. Demand for consumer electronics won't cease any time soon, so there is a definite need for new methods of miniaturization. The crazy thing about nanoelectronics is that they offer an entire order of magnitude increase in component density if we can ever truly build integrated devices out of quantum dots and nanowires.
The state of our current nanotechnology remains in its infancy. Most of the serious research was conducted after the year 2000, though many fundamental experiments were done in the 1990's. As more money pours into the nanotechnology research sector, you can expect a corresponding increase in our ability to control things on the nanoscale. Really, it's only a matter of time before a major breakthrough will allow for all the things researchers have only dreamed about.
Like the invention of the solid-state transistor in the mid 20th century, our early experiments in the beginning of the 21st century will inevitably lead to great things and a new revolution in state-of-the-art technology.