Application of nanomaterials

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Nano materials Applications(19-24)

Read about applications in electronics , energy, automobile , aerospace , medical , cosmetics, food and sports

Electronics

Application of nanomaterials in electronics is significantly increased in recent years. The most common nanomaterial which is enormously investigated for the application of electronic science is carbon based nanotube and semiconductor nanocrystal (quantum dots).Due to their superior electrical properties carbon nanomaterials such as one-dimensional (1D) carbon nanotubes and two-dimensional (2D) graphene are evolving as significant tools which provide a faster and more power-efficient electronics. In addition, high surface to volume ratio, robust and durable mechanical properties has established them a highly sensitive and lower energy consuming building block for nano sensors. All the carbon nanotubes have an ability to emit electrons in the presence of an electric field. This property has been utilized in the field emission devices like television, computer screens and other instruments which are based on cathode-ray emission. The chemical and physical state of the environment may alter the electrical conductivity of carbon nanotubes and thus carbon nanotubes have been developed as chemical and physical sensors. The efficiency of carbon nanotubes to detect any changes in chemical composition of the environment is three times higher in magnitude than conventional solid state sensors. The other advantage of these electronic chips is smaller in size and can be used at room temperature.

Energy

The future generations will be striving to explore the alternative energy sources like solar energy, hydrogen based fuel to fulfill their requirements. A new device that combines graphene with special metallic nanostructures could lead to emerge as more efficient solar cells. The nano structures are fabricated on top of graphene samples to concentrate the electromagnetic field in the region of the material where light is converted to electrical current, so as to dramatically increase the generated photo voltage. Compared to silicon, which is a material currently being used in solar cells, grapheme is more conductive and can absorb longer range spectrum of sunlight, and that may boost the efficiency of solar cells. There is a considerable research program is going on to develop alternative source of energy in form of hydrogen fuel by splitting water (H2O)using sunlight in presence of titanium di oxide (TiO2)nanomaterials. The evolving hydrogen generated by this process can itself become a very good source of fuel for automobiles and other purposes.

Automobile

In automobile industry, polymers have been mixed with nanomaterials (mainly carbon nanotubes and metal nanoparticles) to develop robust and durable parts of vehicles. Cars are spray painted with tiny size nanoparticles that provide smooth, fine and thin attractive coating. In addition, nano coat based paints can also alter the heat-reflecting properties depending on the intensity of the incident sunlight. This helps to regulate the temperature of the vehicle, making the air conditioning system more efficient, easier and less fuel consuming. Self-cleaning glass can be developed by dissolving small amount of titaniam(TiO2) with glass manufacturing ingredients like silica(SiO2), CaO etc during the melting time. Titaniam is able to dissociate organic dust in presence of UV light which is found in normal sunlight. The dissociated organic compound may fall down or simply evaporate and gives a clear sight. In automobile industry, tires of cars consume considerable amount of rubber causing not only increase in price but also add to its weight. The excess weight is related to reduction of speed and increase in fuel consumption. By using nanoparticles such as clay in polymers, light weight, less rubber consuming stronger tires can be manufactured within the reasonable cost.

Aerospace

The applications of nanotechnology in aero space industry are mainly based on the concept of using high strength, low weight nano composites. Space vehicles need high performance, multifunctional materials which can withstand harsh and extreme environments. Materials should also sustain high or low temperature and high or low pressure. Polymer nanocomposites using silica fibers and nanoparticles have high stiffness, low temperature coefficient of expansion and high impact strength. In addition, the radiation protections of nanoparticle-based composites are better as compared to microparticles- based composites. This makes polymer nanocomposites as a good material for aerospace application.

Medical

Nanotechnology can be effectively used for diagnosis and drug delivery .Special sensor of nanorobots can be inserted into the blood under the skin to check different biological and chemical contents present in blood and trace out any possible diseases. They can also be used to check the sugar level present in the blood. Advantage at using such nanorobots is that they are very cheap to produce and easily portable. Nanotech is already used for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer, autoimmune diseases and parasitic infections. Due to larger surface area some drugs when manufactured as nanoparticles, which are thought to be more easily absorbed into the body because of their size. Nanoparticles with antibacterial properties are used in some hospital equipment, and magnetic nanoparticles are used to diagnose conditions, avoiding the risks of surgery. Further research investigation may explore the role of nanotechnology in tissue engineering and can be used as replacement of body parts. Ligand based target drug therapy for cancer patients become also effective after the invention of nanotechnology.

Cosmetics

Nano particles based cosmetics recently draw a lot of attention from the scientific community of cosmetics industry. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide containing nanoparticles of fairly uniform size are able to absorb ultraviolet light and protect the skin. The small particles in some of the creams scatter light in such a way that appearance of the wrinkles present in the face is diminished. The cosmetics that have a coloring function normally employ a variety of pigments that reflect light in certain ways, to generate many colors and color gradations. Due to their small size nanoparticles-based cream are preferred as they can be used in small amount and they do not leave any gaps between them. This gives as smooth appearance. Nano based dyes and colors are quite harmless to skin and can be used in hair creams or gels.

Food

Nanotechnology based dietary supplements is one of the most common uses in food industry. Companies claim that because of their sizes, nanoparticles can be absorbed more quickly and easily as compare to their bulk components. USA based companies have developed a chocolate drink with more intense chocolate flavor using the nanotechnology. Nano-silver is also used effectively in some food packaging containers, particularly because of its antibacterial properties.

Sports equipment

Many sports equipment like cricket bat, the shaft and head of some tennis racquets are made of carbon nanotubes which stiffen the sports equipment, thus creating a high strength-to-weight ratio. In addition, Golf balls have been developed using nanotechnology which increases the flight of the balls.

Textile industry

Recent nanotechnology based clothing are highly effective to repel any form of dirt particles. Some textile industries are marketing dirt and stain resistant trousers and shirts.

Some sportswear companies also claim to make the use of the nanosilver based technology having the antibacterial properties to prevent apparels from getting smelly when they're worn, and reduce the need for repeated washing of these clothes.

Technology and home appliances

In recent years, plenty of mobile phones and computers are based on the science of modern nanotechnology. One of the most common applications is laptop keyboard which has been coated in nano-silver to prevent the spread of bacteria. The brightness of TV and computer displays can be enhanced by using carbon nanotubes. Nanotechnology is facilitating the production of brighter, clearer and more efficient displays for computers and television. Traditional TV's and monitors were based on cathode ray tubes (CRT's).Unfortunately; there can be problems in achieving comparable picture quality, brightness and view angle. Using nanomaterials, it may be possible to improve further on LCD technology through the use of field emission displays which is less power consuming and may ultimately be cheaper to make. Some companies have deployed nanotechnology to prolong battery life. In the home, nanoceramics can help to reduce the friction on surfaces, and have been used in things such as frying pans and non-stick irons.

Salient Features:

1. The most common nanomaterial which is enormously investigated for the application of electronic science is carbon based nanotube and semiconductor nanocrystal (quantum dots).

2. The future generations will depend on nanotechnology based source of energy

3. Nanomedicine is one of the most important area where nanotechnology is doing revolution.

4.Automobile, Aerospace,Textile,sports, cosmetics and other home appliances have enormous applications which is based on nanotechnology.

References:

19. Kurtoglu ME, Longenbach T, Reddington P, Gogotsi Y. (2011). Effect of Calcination Temperature and Environment on Photocatalytic and Mechanical Properties of Ultrathin Sol-Gel Titanium Dioxide Films. Journal of the American Ceramic Society 94 (4): 1101-1108. doi:10.1111/j.1551-2916.2010.04218.x.

20. "Nanotechnology Consumer Products". nnin.org. 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2011.

21. Nano in transport at NanoandMe.org

22. Nano in computing and electronics at NanoandMe.org

23. Nano in medicine at NanoandMe.org

24. David B, (2006). Nano-Hype: The Truth Behind the Nanotechnology Buzz. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

About the Author

Anirbandeep Bose's picture

I am Dr. Anirbandeep Bose working as an Asst. Prof in Acharya and Bm Reddy college of Pharmacy ,Bangalore.Before that I worked as postdoctoral fellow in Pharmacy department of University Technology Mara(UiTM),Malaysia.I was awarded the post doctoral fellowship by the Malaysian higher education Ministry. Before that I got awarded PhD in Pharmaceutics from Jadavpur University,Kolkata,India. I worked as production chemist(Tablets and Capsule manufacturing) in BHP(1981)PVT. LTD for more than 2 years. I have more than 30 international publications related this field and attended many international conference.

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