With the current U.S. government's annual appropriation of $679 million to nanotechnology research and development, industry analysts are projecting a $1 trillion industry for small tech products by 2015. Nanotechnology, it may very well be the next BIG THING

Some of the Industry it has impacted are:

• Aerospace
– Mission to Mars stronger and lighter materials
• Automobile Industry
- BMW 740i has 70+ Mems (Micro Electronic Mechanical Devices)
• Consumer Electronics
- Digital Camera OLED display, the 3.1-megapixel EasyShare LS633 zoom digital camera by Kodak
• Beauty Products
- Plenitude Revitalift antiwrinkle cream by L'Oréal Paris, first nanotechnology product in 1998.
• Sports
– Cerax Ski & Snowboard Nanowax produces a hard, fast-gliding surface. The ultrathin coating lasts much longer than conventional waxing systems
• Textile Industry
– Eddie Bauer's Nano-Care comfort-waist corduroy pants and Kathmandu Tobin shirt Pants
• Medical
– Biosensors for detecting disease • Alternative Energy Sources – cheaper gas

What exactly is nanotechnology anyway?

Nanotechnology , the buzzword most commonly heard when referencing the technologies associated with the small tech industry, has so many potential applications that it has been labeled "the next industrial revolution". With the U.S. government currently appropriating $679 million annually to nanotechnology research and development (according to the National Nanotechnology Initiative) and industry analysts projecting a $1 trillion industry for small tech products by 2015, it may very well be the next big thing.
Nanotechnology can be loosely defined as technological developments and manipulations of nano-sized matter towards a commercial application. This matter is typically measured in terms of a nanometer, or one-millionth of a millimeter. In short, it describes our ability to arrange atoms and molecules exactly the way we want. Some of the most common disciplines of nanotechnology as they exist today include nanodevices, self assembly, and bionanotechnology.

There are two basic methods of fabricating nanodevices -the top-down approach, which involves molding or etching materials into smaller components and the bottom-up approach, which works by assembling structures atom-by-atom or molecule-by-molecule. A typical nanodevice may include tiny robotic tools, perhaps photon powered, that are able to travel in and around human cells to perform molecular-scale surgery or deliver drugs directly to a cell.

The idea of self assembly describes the ability of microscopic matter to automatically assemble into a pre-defined shape or order due to its programmed atomic structure. Just as the force of nature utilizes laws of physics to construct materials, nanotechnology will be the force that allows humans to apply some of the same laws of physics to create our own unique self-assembling materials.

Bionanotechnology includes technologies such as tissue engineering, DNA manipulation, peptide sequencing, and protein-substrate adherence. Much of this technology is also derived from duplicating the forces of nature, and this particular field provides a big first step in creating "living machinery" or devices capable of being interfaced with living tissue.
The uses of nanotechnology are being defined as we speak, but one thing is for certain: it will touch a wide array of aspects of our lives. Some of the applications will impact us profoundly, such as with regenerative medicine and the bio-organic nanotechnology used to repair human tissues. And some of the uses will hardly be perceivable -making us unable to pinpoint when they entered out lives. Consider applications of nanotechnology already in use, such as tire compounds, some cosmetics and sunscreens, even special tennis balls. The point being that the applications of nanotechnology should not be confined merely to ultra technical devices or tiny robots. One of the very premises that nanotechnology operates on -the mimicking of nature's building blocks (officially called biomimetics), means that there realistically may be no limit to its uses.

Understanding Nano Scale

Nanotechnologies Top 10 Products

With industry insiders projecting a $1 trillion industry for nanotech products by 2015, when will we start to reap the benefits? Well, we already are. And more are emerging (like most technologies), at an exponential rate. What follows is's list of what we feel are the top ten existing (or at least advanced stage development) products made with or utilizing nanotechnology. Our selection criteria centered largely on the degree to which the product involves nanotechnology AND the amount of potential the product has to affect -or shall we say enhance, our lives.
1) Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) Displays
Ultra-thin displays manufactured by sandwiching extremely thin (often nano-sized) layers of organic polymer light-emitting materials between electrodes. Images are bright and viewable at wide-angles. The displays are smaller and lighter-weight than traditional LCD displays -meaning they are ideally suited to mobile electronics -such as digital cameras, cellular phones, and handheld computers.
2) Nanoemulsion Anti-Bacterial Cleansers
Uses nanoemulsion technology to kill pathogens. Able to kill tuberculosis and bacterium while remaining nonflammable, noncorrosive, and non-toxic. Nanospheres of oil droplets are suspended by water, therefore requiring a very small amount of active ingredient to kill microorganisms. The Nanospheres carry a surface charge that is able to break-through the bond of an organism's membrane, rendering it defenseless.
3) Nanocapsules
A man-made container usually ranging in size from 100 to 600 nanometers. Commonly made from liposomes or polymers, nanocapsules are able to protect and carry a chemical or material (such as a drug) through unwanted dispersion sites such as water, the environment, or certain tissues and place it exactly where desired and with controlled release. Mimicking nature's phospholipids (fat derivatives), nanocapsules can perform their effective delivery by following the physical property laws of some chemicals when exposed to water (either hydrophobic or hydrophilic). An existing application is cosmetics that are able to penetrate finite layers of skin. In the pipeline are the targeted drug delivery applications as well as a drug overdose treatment that works by "sponging-up" and carrying away excess chemicals in the body (now at lab-test stage).
4) Nanofluidic Tools
Already well established in the life sciences arena, microfluidic technology has enabled us to create very small fluid-altering tools for such applications as micro-mixing, pumping, dispersion, and routing of fluids, and the "lab-on-a-chip" (tiny fluid-circuit diagnostic devices). Microfluidic technology is no longer limited to the micro realm (the next larger scale than nano). Integration of nano-sized capillaries and nano-manipulated surface tension changes (to control flow rate) mean that fluids are now being handled at nanoliter volumes.
5) 1GHz Nanodevices
The promise of nano-sized machines able to travel within the confines of cell walls to perform surgical tasks is certainly appealing, but not yet a reality. However, a very important breakthrough on the path to such a tiny tool has been made by researchers. The prototype nano-sized device, made with layers of silicon carbide, is able to vibrate at a frequency of about 1 gigahertz. This marks a crucial step in that it could be applied to the control of, or communication with, a nano-sized machine.
6) Nano-Enhanced Automotive Catalytic Converters
Aside from hybrid and solar cell technology, advances in the automotive industry have yielded internal combustion engines that produce very little by-product emissions. Furthering this trend, are catalytic converters that apply nanotechnology to become even more efficient. One way nanotechnology is implemented is by utilization of a nano-enhanced filter that can trap excess carbon and sulfur at start-up and then release it to be catalyzed after warm-up. Similarly, another method uses nano-sized particles of catalyst material (platinum for ex.) to provide a larger surface area to initiate the catalytic reaction. Another strategy uses nanotechnology experimentation to study catalyst materials at the atomic level to determine which work more efficiently in synchronization.
7) Carbon Nanotube Electron Sources
Based on carbon nanotube materials (high-strength wires of pure carbon with unique electrical properties), these electron sources emit high current and high density electrons faster than a larger-scale device [i.e. cathode]. This makes them ideal for use in high-resolution electron-beam instruments such as small X-ray equipment. As gating (modulation capability) of these electron sources becomes refined, the applications will expand dramatically.
8) Nanocrystals
Though made by cumbersome processes such as vaporizing and recondensing metals, nanocrystals, crystallites a few nanometers in diameter, possess impressive characteristics. As with all things nano, nanocrystals enjoy an "exception-to-the-rule" of physics, called "non-linear attributes" in the small tech world, and are often stronger, harder, and more wear-resistant than their macro-sized counterparts -by a factor of as much as 300%. Some of the obvious applications will include using nanocrystals as building blocks for very strong metals and composites, but the technology is also applicable to lighting (powerful nano-sized luminescent particles), high resolution imaging, and semiconductor materials.
Unlike MEMS, or microelectromechanical systems, that have been around since the 1980's, nanoelectromechanical systems, or NEMS, are a very young development. Nonetheless, NEMS have the potential to drastically affect the way we employ electronics. The output, or "response", delivered by the mechanical element of these nanodevices could be harnessed to provide nano-sized robotic movement or locomotion. Add a transducer however, and the mechanical and electrical energy can be used to sense and signal. The applications for a nano-sized sensor are enormous. The ability to create a device on the nanoscale that can sense biological, electronic, chemical, or physical input and signal it to the macro-world is indeed a manmade copy of nature -and a true connection to the sub-micron world.
10) Nano-Enhanced Everyday Consumer Products
Nano wax, made with nano-sized polishing agents, provides a better shine due to its ability to fill-in tiny inconsistencies in automotive paint finishes. Nano tennis balls coated internally with a nano-pore membrane, slow pressure drain without adding weight. Nano sunscreens using highly-soluble nano-silica-coated metal oxides, result in more stable, more transparent compounds and provide broad-spectrum protection with their dense and uniform coverage. Standing alone, any one of these everyday products probably would not make our Top 10 list. Together, however, they represent the fact that products utilizing nanotechnology can, and are establishing themselves in our everyday consumer market. That, we believe, is noteworthy.

What are Nanobubbles?
Too small to even be imaged with light, nanobubbles are very small (tens of nanometers in diameter) that adhere to the surface of some solids placed in a liquid environment. Nanobubbles usually form on a surface spontaneously due in part to the hydrophobic properties of some materials: for example, they may form on the flat surface of a piece of gold as it is exposed to water. In some cases, this phenomenon would of course be undesirable but it can also be harnessed as useful applications.
One such application is hyper-oxygenated water. Oxygen nanobubbles infused in water allow faster oxygenation and result in greater oxygen content. Highly oxygenated water can be useful in manufacturing (ex. drugs) and is very handy for keeping fish or bait alive longer.
Other potential applications include: trapping gas nanobubbles to provide thermo barriers on substrates, sticky or slick additives, even the synthesis of new materials. Another more recent and exciting application involves infusing blood with nanobubbles to clear clotting (stroke treatment).
Just as anything in the nanoscale, nanobubbles enjoy certain exceptions to laws of physics due to the way in which atoms and particles interact at this level. One example of this is that it is widely believed that nanobubbles can contain higher pressures due to their smaller size. Because of these unique features, we are sure to discover more valuable applications for nanobubbles as more is learned about them.
What are Nanowires?

A lot of the micro-electronic technology still in use today is largely a result of breakthroughs made before the 1950's. Moore 's Law, the doubling of semiconductor technology every 18 months has pretty much described the growth of computing and microelectronic technology accurately through the last several decades. But we are now on the cusp of a technological revolution –a nanotechnological one. Nanotechnology's exception to certain laws of physics in the macro world holds much promise for a completely new generation of microelectronics –their next generation. One such marvel of nanotechnology, though still in the laboratory stage, is the nanowire .
A "nanowire" is a lab-made suspended or deposited inorganic wire of the nano-scale, usually around 20-40 nanometers (one-billionth of a meter) in diameter that has unique electronic, magnetic, or optoelectronic characteristics. Though nanowires (very similar to nanotubes) can have very different shapes, they are often thin, needlelike threads. They have been successfully “knitted” into films and lattice-like graphs that may prove useful for electronic coatings or fabrics.
Nanowires usually range from semi-conductive to super-conductive, but at nanotechnology's small scales, quantum effects dominate the electronic interactions, and the quantum-confined nature of these wires allows them to behave much differently than the macro-scale wires we are used to. They conduct and carry electrons differently, have odd magnetic characteristics, and even behave in scientifically unpredictable ways.
Of course, once these odd behaviors are harnessed -something that we are currently in the process of doing, the technological applications of these wires should be profound.
One common technique for creating nanowires is the Vapor-Liquid-Solid synthesis method. With this method, a laser-ablated or feed-gas material is exposed to a catalyst –usually a metal or nanoclusters. This method usually creates crystalline structure nanowires, a common use as a semi-conductive material.
Below are lists of probable applications for nanowires, properties, and the common materials they are made of or adhered to.


• Nano-scale electrical circuits made out of compounds that are capable of being formed into extremely small circuits (nanoelectronic circuits).
• High density data storage (magnetic heads and patterned storage media).
• Computing –semiconductors, superconductors, transistors, logic gates.
• Magneto-optical switches (useful in photonics, where light relays data).
• Nanoscale optoelectronics, field effect transistors, decoders, lasers, chemical and bio sensors, LEDs.
• Optical splitters (to split a signal in nanometer-scale photonic systems).
• Metallic interconnects of quantum devices and nanodevices, nanoprobes.
• Detection of the presence of altered genes (possibly associated with cancer) with nano sized sensing wires inside microfluidic channels.
• Erratic regulation of electron speeds.
• Limitations to the density of available phonon states.
• Spontaneous division into branching structures.

Types and materials; substrates, masks, dopings, catalysts, coatings, and deposits
• Metallic and magnetic
• Thermoelectric performance
• Semiconductor
• Multi-shell gold
• Bi, Ni, ZnO
• Tubular aluminum
• Silicon, silica
• Ultrathin rhodium
• Polymer
• Indium phosphide
• Phenyleneethynylene, oligophenyleneethynylene
• Nanoporous
• Nickel
• G-quartet biomolecular
• Multilayered
• Silicon wafers (as substrate)
• Calcium fluoride (as mask)
• Germanium
• Galium nitride
• Carbon
• Thin film
• Single-crystalline superlattice
• Semiconductor heterostructure
• Semimetallic bismuth
• Coaxial crystalline
• Zinc-oxide
• Pentagonal multi-shell Cu
• Teflon amorphous fluoropolymer thin film

About MEMS and NEMS

MEMS Uses in Today Market

- Pressure sensors
Aeronautics = Space & Military
- Chemical Sensors
- Temperature sensors
Medical and Biomedical Information
- Micronozzle Injection Systems
- Microfluidics Sensors
- DNA testing (gene probes)
Information Technology
- Data Storage (read/ write heads)
- Displays
- Video Projectors
- Inkjet printheads
- Switches (RF / optical)
- Variable optical amplifiers
- Optical add/drop multiplexers
- Tunable lasers
- Tunable filters
- Inductors
- Resonators
- Millimetric wave sensors

In Pictures – Building the future from the bottom up

Big future
Nanotechnology concerns materials and working devices that are engineered at the scale of atoms and molecules.
Advances in nanotech will affect electronics and computing, medicine, cosmetics, foods, the military, energy – all walks of life.
By 2020, $1 trillion worth of products could be nano-engineered in some way.
Tiny world
"Nano" comes from the Greek "dwarf". It is used in the metric system to refer to "billionth" - a nanometre (nm) is a billionth of a metre.
Put another way, this is about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. Normal office paper is about 100,000nm thick.
Nanotechnologists will typically work in the range 1-100nm.

Same feel
Nanotech should not be confused with miniaturisation – although it will lead to smaller components in chips, for example.
Nanotech exploits the novel properties seen in materials when their atoms and molecules are very carefully arranged.
These properties are not generally seen in large-scale solids of the same chemical composition.
Nature knows
The gecko can walk up glass and even hang upside down.
The hairs (spatulae) on its feet are so small they can exploit forces that pull molecules together, sticking the gecko to the ceiling.
Nanotech can make sticky tape lined with gecko-like synthetic hairs that do the same job.
Little bits
The cosmetics industry already puts nano-particles in lotions, creams and shampoos.
Nano-sized zinc oxide particles are used in suncreams.
The particles are particularly good at absorbing ultra-violet rays, but make the lotion transparent and smooth instead of sticky and white.
Easy clean
Pilkington coats the surface of its Activ glass with titanium oxide nano-particles.
Sunshine on these special windows triggers a chemical reaction which breaks down dirt.
When water hits the glass, it spreads evenly over the surface, instead of forming droplets, and runs off rapidly taking the dirt with it.
Tuning tubes
Carbon nanotubes are sheets of graphite (carbon) that are rolled up on themselves.
Just a few nanometres across, these ultra-strong cylinders can make composite coatings for car bumpers that better hold their shape in a crash.
The tubes can also absorb hydrogen, which should enable more efficient storage of future fuels.
No spots
The clothing industry uses nanotech to make stain-repellent fabrics.
A chemical process during manufacture forces liquids to bead up when spilled on a garment for easy wiping away.
Socks that are made with nano-silver particles give anti-microbial protection, preventing bacteria and fungus that cause itchiness and smells.
Science fiction
Nuclear subs that course through the blood to shoot cancerous tumours with a laser; self-replicating nanobots that escape from a lab to devour the Earth in a "grey goo" – this is all the stuff of airport novels.
The physics at this scale tells us that tiny propellers, for example, simply would not work in the way envisaged.