Nanoscience and Nanotechnology cover those fields of science that study, design, obtain and/or manipulate in a controlled way materials, substances and devices smaller than a micrometre (10-6 m) and close to the nanometre (10-9 m). [1 nanometre is a millionth part of a milimetre].
In the figure is represented the metric scale. Nanotechnology works between 1 y 100 nm. The electronic microscope is used to observe molecules and atoms.
The key is that if materials are manipulated at the nanoscale we get new and important properties. An example of this are the carbon nanotubes (CNTs). These molecules are designed at the nanoscale and they create structures at the macroscale stronger than steel. One example of this are the Carbon nanotubes.
The beginning of Nanoscience dates back to 1959. Then, the Nobel Prize in Physics Richard Feynman, proposed to make computers with pieces done through the reordenation of atoms and molecules. In this way we get more speed and consume less energy. The research in Nanoscience accelerate with the appearance of the sacnning tunelling microscope (STM) in 1981.
The field of Nanoscience is multidisciplinary and its study is in contact with different sciences such as physics, chemistry, engineering, robotics, biology, medicine or environment.
There we have some examples of the applications of the Nanoscience to different branches of nanotechnology:
Energy: new fuels.
Biomedicine: functional nanoparticles to improve diagnosis techniques.
Buildings: cements and new materials.
Pharmacy: nanosystems for the drug administration. Cosmetics.
Environment: systems for purification and desalination of water.
Chemistry: nanostrucutred catalysts.
Chemistry, biology, environment: biosensors and biodetectors.
Telecomunications: colossal magnetoresistance system.
Transports: New materials with different properties for car industry and aeronautics.
In the figure above: Nanoscience applications.
There is a great interest in Nanoscience since it will provide innovative applications and advanced technology for many different industries. That’s why Nanoscience is included as a priority issue in R+D plans all over the world.
We can say that Nanoscience is the science of the future. It will bring great technological advances and it may provoke a new industrial revolution in the XXI century.