The potential benefits are far too great to be relinquished, and the best way to head off risks is to carefully study and understand the technology, and then to develop it under sensible guidelines. Effective use of nanotechnology will require intelligent and prudent policy-making.
The first point seems self-evident and has largely been accepted, although we suspect that the enormous implications of this overwhelming complexity are not yet fully appreciated.
The second point is controversial, of course, and this is an area where CRN is open to considering that we might be wrong. Good arguments can be made for the effectiveness — indeed, perhaps even the necessity — of supporting emergent networked solutions instead of top-down imposed solutions.
The third point is equally controversial, and arguably unachievable, but because it focuses attention on how molecular manufacturing is potentially so disruptive, we think it is worth bringing up again and again. The situation is urgent; nanofactories may be developed within a decade. Unless CRN can establish the urgency factor suggested by this final point, then all of the other positions stated above may be considered only of academic interest and not necessary for critical debate, or at least not for a long time.
So, where are we today? The contention that building productive nanoscale machinery is impossible for this reason or that reason has faded into the background. On the point of whether or not molecular manufacturing is feasible, CRN and our allies apparently have won the argument. A larger question exists, however, about urgency. Feasibility is only one factor; the other is imminence.
There is a huge difference between saying that nanofactories will be developed someday and saying that they will be developed soon. We have based our appeals to policy makers and to the public on the idea that immediate action was needed.
These are both positive developments, as uncertainty is being removed. The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has accomplished a great deal in five years, clarifying and sharpening the discussion, forcing our concerns onto the agenda, and moving the mainstream closer to our positions. Our challenge now is to take a step back and see what we most want to achieve during the next five years.
It seems scientists earn extra kudos when they come up with a new three-letter combination. This instrument has become the most widely used tool for imaging, measuring and manipulating matter at the nanoscale and in turn has inspired a variety of other scanning probe techniques. Originally the AFM was used to image the topography of surfaces, but by modifying the tip it is possible to measure other quantities for example, electric and magnetic properties, chemical potentials, friction and so on , and also to perform various types of spectroscopy and analysis.
Today we take a look at one of the instruments that has it all made possible. To put the AFM in its context: The reason why nanosciences and nanotechnologies have taken off with such amazing force over the past 20 years is because our ongoing quest for miniaturization has resulted in tools such as the AFM invented in or its precursor, the scanning tunneling microscope STM; invented in Combined with refined processes such as electron beam lithography, this allowed scientists to deliberately manipulate and manufacture nanostructures, something that wasn't possible before.
These engineered nanomaterials, either by way of a top-down approach a bulk material is reduced in size to nanoscale particles or a bottom-up approach larger structures are built or grown atom by atom or molecule by molecule , go beyond just a further step in miniaturization.
They have broken a physical barrier beyond, or rather: Any material reduced to the nanoscale can suddenly show very different properties than to what it shows on a macro- and larger scale. For instance, opaque substances become transparent copper ; inert materials become catalysts platinum ; stable materials turn combustible aluminum ; solids turn into liquids at room temperature gold ; insulators become conductors silicon.
A second important aspect of the nanoscale is that the smaller nanoparticles get the larger their relative surface area becomes. The larger the relative surface area, the more reactive a particle becomes with regard to other substances. The fascination with nanotechnology stems from these unique quantum and surface phenomena that matter exhibits at the nanoscale, enabling novel applications and interesting materials.
But without the AFM, all this wouldn't be happening. The term microscope in the name is actually a misnomer because it implies looking, while in fact the information is gathered by feeling the surface with a mechanical probe. The operation principle of an AFM is based on three key elements: The cantilever beam deflects in proportion to the force of interaction; 2 a piezoelectric transducer to facilitate positioning and scanning the probe in three dimensions over the sample with very precise movements; and 3 a feedback system to detect the interaction of the probe with the sample.
Scanning across the surface, the sharp tip follows the bumps and grooves formed by the atoms on the surface. By monitoring the deflections of the flexible cantilever beam one can generate a topography of the surface.
This principle has been the basis for one of the most important nanoscience tools and allowed the visualization of nanoscale objects where conventional optics cannot resolve them due to the wave nature of light.
A recently published article in the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences , written by Martijn de Jager and John van Noort, both from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, gives an excellent overview of Atomic Force Microscopy and its applications in life sciences.
Below we are summarizing some of the key information from this article. The AFM can be operated in a number of modes, depending on the application but four modes are most commonly used for AFM imaging: In constant force mode, the normal force the cantilever deflection under scanning reflects repulsive forces acting upon the tip, and at sufficiently small scanning velocities the force feedback can reduce the normal force. Tapping mode or noncontact mode , where the tip is vibrated oscillating at its resonance frequency perpendicular to the specimen plane to avoid gouging the specimen as the tip is scanned laterally and the lateral forces are reduced.
In a fourth mode of scanning, the force—distance mode, the tip is brought to the sample at frequencies far below the resonance frequency of the cantilever while at the same time the deflection is recorded.
This allows one to measure the local interaction as a function of the tip-sample distance. As de Jager and van Noort write in their article, large numbers of various biological samples, including cells, cell compartments and biomolecules, have been studied with AFM. For other experiments, the use of AFM is a prerequisite to look at nonfixed materials and even their dynamics in aqueous environment.
Besides its imaging capabilities AFM is becoming increasingly important as a nanomanipulation tool. The single-molecule analysis of interaction forces, elasticity and tertiary protein structure in intact biological materials is uniquely possible using AFM. Let's just take a look at two examples illustrated in the paper: Imaging Cells "AFM imaging of living cells provides a direct measurement of cell morphology with nanometer resolution in three dimensions.
Because of its noninvasive nature and the absence of fixation and staining, even dynamic processes like exocytosis, infection by virus particles and budding of enveloped viruses have been successfully visualized in successive scans. Owing to the high elasticity of the cell membrane, the tip can deeply indent the cell without disrupting the membrane. Making use of this effect, even submembraneous structures such as cytoskeletal elements or organelles like transport vesicles can be revealed.
However, due to the elasticity of the cell the contact area between the tip and the sample increases with increasing applied force. The elastic modulus of living cells varies between 10 and kPa, which results in a tip sample contact area of 50—nm in the softest region of the cell. Therefore, the sub- nanometer resolution that is routinely achieved on more rigid samples cannot be achieved on membranes of intact cells.
Unique details on the mechanism and function of DNA- and RNA metabolizing proteins can directly be obtained by quantification of the number, position, volume and shape of protein molecules on their substrate.
Like other single molecule techniques all individual instances of the entire population of structures are revealed, also showing rare but important species. Further insights in the mechanism of a reaction can be obtained from image analysis by measuring parameters such as protein-induced DNA bending, wrapping and looping.
Besides topography imaging, force spectroscopy has been successful in unraveling tertiary structure in proteins, RNA and other polymers.
Technical developments will advance the AFM system itself, by improvement of resolution, image rate, sensitivity and functionality. A combination with complementary techniques will fill in some limitations of AFM. To fully exploit the potential of AFM to study functional biomolecules and their interactions, de Jager and van Noort say that video microscopy would be needed to capture dynamic events. Smaller cantilevers will result in higher resonance frequencies, allowing faster scanning rates.
By reducing the size of the cantilevers one order of magnitude, the frame rate can be reduced from typically a minute down to video rate, allowing the study of a significantly larger range of biomolecular processes.
The reduction of tip size, increase of its aspect ratio and its resistance to wear as a result of scanning will have a considerable impact on all AFM applications. With high operating speed, increased force sensitivity and excellent lateral resolution, this tool facilitates practical mapping of nanomechanical properties.
With the advent of molecular manufacturing, we're likely to underestimate just how much we're underestimating ourselves. I pay close attention to developments in this arena. Geoengineering or "geo," as many in the field refer to it is the idea of using large-scale engineering to modify the planet's geophysical systems. Some versions of geo go after atmospheric carbon directly, while others simply try to reduce incoming sunlight or "insolation" while we make the necessary changes to our economies and societies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As you might imagine, geo is the focus of both intense scientific study and political debate. Like molecular manufacturing MM , much of the debate around geo's implications and risks exists in the anticipatory vacuum: All we have to go on are our understandings of present-day related technologies, our models of how the future technologies will emerge, and our core philosophies about how people act. What's often left out is the intersection of these drivers, such as how new technologies can reshape how people can and will act.
In the geo mailing list I inhabit, for example, one of the leading posters has made it clear that he considers concerns about how much highly-motivated individuals or small groups could do with geoengineering proposals to be ridiculous. Geo would require the resources of a nation, in his view. That might be true for today.
But it won't be true forever -- or, arguably, even for very much longer. The deployment of molecular manufacturing technologies will give individuals and small groups production capacities far beyond what we've ever experienced. That's what the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has long argued, and it's a crucial point. Whether we're talking dry nano or wet, diamondoid or biomimetic, the ability to shape materials at a molecular scale with systems able in principle, at least to self-replicate will be fundamentally transformative.
We simply can't reliably apply our understanding of how people behave with limited capacities to a world where individuals no longer face those same limits. With molecular manufacturing, we'll be hard-pressed to make a clear distinction between the potential power of individuals and the power of nations.
Many of the scenarios portraying the misuse of this kind of power rely on the bad behavior of anti-social individuals or groups -- terrorists, the criminally insane, the ludicrously careless. It's far more likely, in my view, that the more difficult risks associated with molecular manufacturing will come from people who think they're doing the right thing for the world.
Individual efforts at geoengineering rank high on my list of molecular manufacturing scenarios filed under "road to hell paved with good intentions.
Although some might try to carry out basic plans that present-day geoengineers predict nations will undertake somewhere down the road such as pumping megatons of sulphur dioxide particles into the lower stratosphere , that's not MM thinking.
How about millions of diamond micro-drones, running on sunlight, able to stay in the air indefinitely, both blocking a fraction of insolation and increasing overall planetary albedo?
Or, systems that filter and sequester CO2 right out of the air? Systems that automatically hunt down large greenhouse gas emitters anywhere on Earth and shut them down wouldn't technically be geoengineering, but would operate on a similar scale.
These may all sound appealing to varying degrees, but if done without coordination, testing, and oversight, they could be disastrous. One person doing this might not be a major problem. A dozen, a hundred, a million people around the world trying something like this would be catastrophic.
We are increasingly moving into a world where individuals and small groups possess orders of magnitude more power than ever before. For now, that power is largely limited to the Internet, where influence and ability to make changes is not necessarily proportional to organizational size.
But as we start building the technologies that allow us to treat the physical world with the same rules as the digital world -- in terms of replication and reach -- we'll soon see the same kind of disruption of traditional measures of power. It's not just a case of needing to be ready for people who aim to do wrong with this new power. We'll also need to be ready for people who aim to do right with it, too Here he offers an overview of past and future trends that may be relevant to the development and deployment of molecular manufacturing.
Four things, distinct but deeply influencing one another, are about to impact our world in ways hard to predict but foolish to ignore.
These four are climate change, oil and natural gas passing their supply peak, fresh water depletion and pollution, and population pressure. Their mutual influence is obvious. Often they reinforce one another, sometimes in positive feedback loops positively harmful to people. Over the last years, fossil fuel consumption has empowered massive population growth and has become a major cause of long-term climate change. Population growth along with technological and economic growth in turn has greatly increased the rate at which fossil fuels are consumed.
Just while oil and natural gas are passing their production peak, they are being consumed ever faster, meaning that the effects of gradually decreasing supply will be felt relatively abruptly. Both population and economic growth aggravate the depletion of water supplies for drinking, irrigation, and manufacturing. Together, these four historical mega-events will reverberate in various ways: Meanwhile, the reigning economic theory, capitalism, tells us we must have constant economic growth in order to bring profit to the investors who finance the growth -- the perfect feedback loop.
More growth means more production, more people, more consumption, more pollution, more climate change. The earth is a small house stuffed with people eating the emergency rations, and the toilet is backing up.
I am going to attempt a forecast of how these things may play out over the next two decades. All the details are of course speculative, but keep in mind that the forces in play are not speculative. The fresh water supply is already precarious. At current rates of consumption, oil and natural gas production is bound to start declining pretty soon; the only serious debate is over just how soon, and political events in the Mideast may speed the decline. When two vehicles collide head-on, the impact speed is the sum of the individual speeds.
Likewise, the collision of global population and economic growth with environmental degradation and fossil fuel and fresh water depletion is going to make many changes occur faster than they otherwise would and faster than we expect.
Keep in mind also that I am talking about what I think is most likely to happen, not what I want to happen or think ought to happen. Reality, whatever it may turn out to be, trumps our wishes and oughts. Climate Change Climate change, a. Our activities release carbon dioxide and methane, the chief greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere in ever increasing amounts.
We are destroying much of the vegetation that absorbs carbon dioxide, especially by cutting down rain forests and by polluted water runoffs which make the oceans slightly more acidic, killing off plankton. Each of the last five decades has seen more flooding and wildfires worldwide than the decade before. Polar and mountain glaciers are melting faster than even most alarmists predicted.
Hurricanes and tornadoes are more frequent and stronger. Fisheries are collapsing, due both to overfishing and to warming water. Coral reefs are dying. Droughts are worse and deserts are expanding.
No matter what we do now, these trends will continue over the next few decades. If everyone from governments and transnational corporations to SUV owners immediately starts doing what environmentalists are telling them to do, global climate might stabilize by the end of the century. But that is a very big if. Droughts, heat waves, dust storms, and flooding will be particularly hard on human life. Increasing temperatures will kill off vegetation and dry up water resources, and their loss will lead, in a destructive feedback loop, to even more warming.
The Amazon and Indonesian rain forests will suffer drought and massive wildfires, sending up thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Fresh water supplies will be critical by and will be a major cause of migration and conflict. Due both to thermal expansion and glacial melt, the sea level will slowly rise, and by low lying coastal areas like Bangladesh, the Nile delta, the Netherlands, London, and southern Florida and Louisiana will be inundated during storm seasons.
Much of Venice will be abandoned. The Global Oil Peak As to fossil fuel depletion, I am assuming, and I believe, that those analysts are correct who see the global oil production peak occurring by if it has not already occurred , in the same way that U. The profits will go to the oil giants and to the current high office holders in Nigeria, Cameroon, Angola, and a few others.
Most jobs on the rigs require training and experience, which most Africans lack. And if oil is produced there in significant quantity, the effect will be to stretch the global depletion curve while adding to the burdens of economic growth and climate change. More oil will only amplify the impending collision. Whenever we pass the global production peak, we will only know it in hindsight.
Total production will gradually zigzag downward, and prices upward, but we will only know for sure that this trend is more than temporary about ten years after it begins. Perhaps the most important aspect of the oil peak is the psychological one. A lot of oil will still be being pumped and refined, if not quite as much as a decade before. But everyone will know by then, though some will still deny, that the handwriting is on the wall.
The next few years will be worse, and the years after that worse still. Airlines, factories, trucking fleets, industrial fertilizer, petrochemicals, and commutes -- all those things that burn petroleum or are made from it -- will be in a terminal shrink. Coal will outlast oil, but it is a more potent climate changer. Unemployment will balloon and the global economy will be sliding inexorably into depression.
People will react in various way to this crisis, mostly unhappy ways. And then there is the political factor. The main underlying reason why the U. The official explanation for this, beyond rooting out the malignancy and his supposed Al Qaeda connections and WMD, was to bring stability and democracy to that politically challenged region.
Iraq seems to be headed for civil war, possibly a long one. The totalitarian regime in Iran will certainly try to control the outcome of that war. Driven especially by steeply rising demand in China and India, alongside unslackened demand in the U. In short, the cost of living will keep going up. Rising fuel prices will force more airline bankruptcies and mergers; increasingly, only the wealthy will be able to afford air travel.
Somewhere in the decade the bloated and sublimely corrupt House of Saud will fall to a radical Islamic revolution. The flow of Mideast oil to the West will be seriously disrupted, after which air travel will become rare, the province of governments, corporations and millionaires. There will be war between Israel and a coalition of Islamic nations, a very bloody war climaxed when Israel, out of options, goes nuclear.
And then the U. In the process those oil fields will largely be destroyed. Disease Global warming and the disruptions caused by it, by population pressure and poverty, and by fossil fuel depletion will promote the spread of disease. Sometime in the next twenty years there is likely to be another worldwide flu pandemic like the one that killed millions in Malaria, dengue fever, cholera, and tuberculosis will continue to ravage the poorest regions of the world.
There is more to it than that, though. Population pressure and soil exhaustion are driving farmers to push into ancient rain forests, slashing and burning to clear the land. Rich natural biodiversity is being replaced by chemically sustained, large-scale monoculture. According to the U. National Nanotechnology Initiative, nanotechnology implies the ability to understand and control matter at dimensions between approximately from up to one nanometers; it also involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at the estimated length scale Nanowerk.
At the nanoscale, matter possesses unique properties; properties of materials behave under atomic and molecular rules, and this is why nanotechnology is so advanced: Nanotechnology is still in the process of development, but nevertheless it can already surprise humanity with wonders that were impossible several decades ago.
For example, there are special carbon nanotubes that are able to turn into an artificial muscle ; there is a 3D printer that can print new cancer drugs; there already exist self-healing materials, such as concrete that fills in its own cracks to ship hulls that knit back together; viruses were created that convert pressure into electrical energy, and so on. These and other inventions are the beginning of a new technological era io9. Nanotechnology is a relatively new branch of science that can revolutionize the reality we live in today.
Nanotechnology operates with matter at dimensions between one to one hundred nanometers. This allows scientists to gain control over the unique properties that matter at such a small scale possesses. Self-healing materials, artificial muscle, and other wonderful inventions are only the beginning of the new era of technology. Is English your native language?
What is your profession? Student Teacher Writer Other. Academic Assignment Writing an Essay. Writing a Research Paper. Writing Guides for Students Writing a Memoir 2. Creative Writing Guides Writing a Song 3.
- Nanotechnology Nanotechnology is the understanding and controlling of matter at sizes of roughly 1 to nanometers. Using nanoscale science, phenomenal engineering, technological, medical, chemical, and informational feats are possible (1).
Technology has evolved from the task and things which once seen as unbelievable to common everyday chores and instruments. The developments and progress in artificial intelligence and molecular technology have spawned a new form of technology Related Articles: Essay on nanotechnology – A new invention for the benefit of Mankind.
Nanotechnology is the engineering of tiny machines. This will be done inside personal Nano factories using techniques and tools being developed today to make advanced products. This will result in a manufacturing revolution. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, probably the width of three or four atoms. A human hair is about 25, [ ]. Nanotechnology Essay Words | 3 Pages. Nanotechnology is the creation of functional materials, devices and systems through control of matter at the scale of nanometers, and the exploitation of novel properties and phenomena at the same scale; nanotechnology is also called molecular manufacturing. Nanotechnology is a result of the.
Nanotechnology Essay Words | 3 Pages Nanotechnology is the creation of functional materials, devices and systems through control of matter at the scale of nanometers, and the exploitation of novel properties and phenomena at the same scale; nanotechnology is . The term paper deals with the introduction to nanotechnology a chemistry point of view and its derivation from past. The new.