On the abstract level, the study of objects, phenomena, and so on the nanometre scale is what is known as Nanoscience but explicitly, it is the study of matter at the nanoscale—dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers or 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The word nano stem from the Greek word ‘nanos,’ meaning dwarf. It is also a prefix used to outline one billionth of something. A nanometer is hence one billionth of a meter.
Nanotechnology is the conversion of the nanoscience principle to useful daily applications by the process of observation, manipulation, measurement, assembling, controlling and the manufacture of matter at the nanometer scale.
According to NCBI, nanoscience development can be traced to the 5th century B.C, the time of the Greeks and Democritus, when the then scientists had sought to find out if matter was continuous, and infinitely divisible into other smaller units or whether it was composed of small, indivisible and indestructible particles known as atoms.
With this astonishingly small scales, material have very distinct phenomena that enables new applications.
Richard Freynman, a popular American physicist had in 1959 prophesied that there was ‘plenty of room at the bottom’, an indication that the exploration and manipulation of materials atom by atom would bring about new opportunities for science and create new technologies. The famed ‘room at the bottom’ phrase is what is now known as nanoscience.
Nanoscience, a very vital part of research in physics, chemistry, materials science, and biology has a fundamental importance to industrial application and medical devices like diagnostic biosensors, drug delivery systems and imaging probes.
The impact of nanoscience and nanotechnology can be seen everywhere, even in television technology. Many video screens use a U.S.-developed nanotechnology known as quantum dots, a set of semiconductor particles a few nanometres in size, having optical and electronic properties that differ from larger particles due to quantum mechanics. This technology helps in the creation of Televisions that has very high-resolution, with precise, vivid colours that excites a lot of home users.
There is of course the interest of government in this study, as the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a U.S. government research and development effort that is envisioning a future where nanotechnology be used to bring about a revolution in technology and industry.
The study of Nanoscience is very important to the advancement of technology in almost all facets. The DOE Office of Science’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) had in cognizance of the fundamental importance of nanoscience had established five Nanoscale Science Research Centres to help conduct interdisciplinary and collaborative research at the nanoscale level. The team will provide access to leading-edge synthesis, characterization, computational tools, and scientific expertise.
Also, nanomaterials can be used to build new generation of solar cells, hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen storage systems that have the capacity to deliver clean energy to underdeveloped countries that are heavily reliant on traditional, non-renewable contaminating fuels.
One of the most significant advances in nanotechnology is the application in the field of biomedicine, especially in the therapeutic treatment of cancer because of its enormous potential of offering innovative solutions that will help resolve the limitations of traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
It is hoped that Nanoscience and Nanotechnology will be further applied to other fields of human endeavours, to make life easier for man.