Nanotechnology has been considered to be the next big thing for decades but it is now becoming a reality with a number of applications in almost everything from food safety to computing, textiles, medicine, energy storage, information technology, water treatment, transportation, agriculture, tech-focused companies, NASA and even students pursuing a degree in nanotech.
Below are 7 examples of some of the recent advances in nanotechnology that are looking forward to being commercialized in the nearest future.
1. Medical Nanotechnology: Nanotech cancer treatment
Nanoparticles have proved to be reliable in drug delivery during cancer-killing therapies. The nanoparticles can carry the cancer drug as well as short strands of RNA efficiently and selectively to shut off genes that cancer cells use to escape the drug.
The 3 most common types of cancer treatment: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation risk damage and side-effects of varying severity to normal tissues and even incomplete extermination of the cancer. By using nano-carriers, cancer treatment can be easily focused on the targeted cancerous cells while also reducing damage to the healthy cells.
2. Physics: the world’s smallest refrigerator
To be precise, this is not your regular refrigerator. It is a thermoelectric cooler with a thickness of 100 nanometers. It can also detect the temperature of nanoparticles almost instantly. The nanoscale refrigerator was invented by a team of scientists at the California Nano-Systems institute, UCLA, to aid the measuring and lowering of the temperature of minute particles like tiny soda and others.
3. Dental Health: Silver germ-killers.
As research is still being done on how to reduce the influence of fluoride presence’s in most toothpaste, some USA researchers have tested the introduction of silver nanoparticles into sanitizing toothbrushes. Silver nanoparticles are known to kill bacteria but more research is on it to check for health risks associated with them.
4. Energy: Solar Power.
It’s not a secret that solar power is the future of energy storage. Therefore, researchers have been applying nanotechnology to solar energy to enhance the assimilation of light and the conversion of it to electricity. Researchers are making efforts with this to reduce costs and improve its efficiency.
5. Eye surgery : Magnetic microbots.
Some scientists at the multi-scale robotic lab at ETH Zurich have, through the aid of microbots and implantable micro-pumps, invented a method of modifying eye surgery by performing precision surgery. The microbots can guide a needle-injected device into the eye, abolishing the need to slice it open, while the implantable micro-pumps can be placed right behind the eye as it releases the drug over time.
6. Disease detection: Fastest COVID-19 antibody test.
Can you imagine a 5 second COVID-19 antibody test? Well, we are close to it as researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have revealed one of the fastest known COVID-19 antibody tests with high sensitivity due to its unique electrochemical reaction and 3D printing technology. The test results are available within 10-15 seconds through an interface with a mobile phone. This effective test can be a panacea to the spread of the pandemic.
7. Robotic Engineering: Nanotech enabled bra.
This is hitting home as a Nigerian robotics engineer, Kemisola Bolarinwa, invents a bra that can detect breast cancer. It uses secured and programmed electronics and sensors inside the bra pads to report cancer detection. This is great news for women, as early detection of cancer is a great way of defeating it. The bra gives results after 5mins of wearing it with 87% accuracy. She hopes to do more to increase its performance before it can be put up for sale.
If you are seeking a degree program in Nanotechnology, you are on the right path to gaining real world experience as researchers are making significant advancements and the Nanotech field is making tremendous strides in the short and long-term future.