4 myths about nanotechnology

4 myths about nanotechnology General Knowledge

Guide-scientific.com experts debunk myths about new technologies in manipulating nanoobjects.

Guide-scientific.com debunks scientific myths and introduces readers to comments from our experts that explain common misconceptions. We asked our authors to tell us about the reasons for the formation of certain well-established ideas about the nanotechnology industry.

There is no natural analogue of nanotechnology

Not true.

When did a person begin to explore the field of nanoscale objects? Along with the development of molecular biology. In fact, the emergence of this branch of biology has become a very powerful impetus for the study of more and more detailed properties of the cell, in order to penetrate deeper and deeper into it. In the end, we encountered nanoscale objects and realized that the whole cell is nanotechnology. In this regard, they often refer to Richard Feynman’s speech “There’s a lot of space down there,” but in fact it was said after the discovery of DNA, when it was already clear what a protein was and so on.

The initial motive was the desire to understand how living things work. This was a very powerful motivation in this direction. Of course, with the development of tools and technology for scientific research of the appropriate size, a more active penetration of a person into the nanoscale area began to form in various directions: for example, in the field of materials and materials science, as well as in chemistry – what is called macro- and supramolecular structures, which, in fact, they are nanoscale objects.

This all happened later, when the technology of scientific research caught up. Without the development of microscopy to the level of being able to see an object as small as 10 nanometers, such a breakthrough could not have happened. Of course, such parameters were not obtained immediately. Accordingly, nanotechnologies after these achievements went into the field not only of biology.

Nanotechnologies were originally invented by nature and embodied them primarily in the form of biological objects, and man has just begun to penetrate into this world.

Nano-objects are constructed by assembling individual atoms

Not true.

The belief that it is possible to assemble nanoparticles by atoms is, of course, a philistine myth, largely provoked by pictures from popular science magazines, when people assemble the inscription IBM from single atoms under an electron microscope . Then it is replicated, and everyone believes that like this, from single atoms, we can create any material. But this is, of course, impractical.

Theoretically possible (they created the inscription IBM ), but absolutely impractical. If we remember how many atoms 1 gram of ordinary material contains, we will understand that we will collect it for trillions of years one atom at a time. One mole has a mass of n grams for different substances. For example, one mole of carbon is 12 grams. 12 grams of carbon is 6*1023 atoms. Of course, it is impossible for anyone to collect material if atom by atom it is necessary to collect 1023 single atoms. This is absolutely unrealistic.

Various other approaches are used, based, for example, on “self-assembly”, where we allow the atoms to assemble themselves, creating favorable conditions for the formation of nanoparticles of the desired size and structure. This is how nanomaterials can be assembled – not at the level of individual atoms.

After the discovery, graphene never found application

Only partly true.

Very little time has passed since the discovery of graphene, and it has recently begun to be produced on a serious scale. That is why it has not yet been widely adopted. However, directions are already open in which it can be used in the very near future. First of all, it is electronics. In this area, it should replace almost all silicon semiconductors, and since this substance, with various options for its use, can be a conductor, a semiconductor, and even an insulator, it can replace almost any device from modern microelectronic equipment. In addition, British scientists recently tested a new body armor made using graphene. It is much lighter, stronger and more comfortable than traditional Kevlar body armor. And if the military took up graphene, then

Graphene differs from all other substances in that it is unusually thin and has the most ordered structure. This means that it can be used in those areas of technology where these properties are required. Everything can be made from it, up to the fuselages of aircraft. One of the most interesting properties of graphene is that it consists only of carbon atoms, and we have an unlimited amount of this substance on Earth. Therefore, graphene can become a substance that will be used everywhere. From it it will be possible to make chairs, tables, wallpaper. He can be given the title of the first universal substance in the history of mankind.



Alexander Stephenson

Candidate of Chemical Sciences, editor-in-chief of Guide-scientific.com. Lecturer at several international online schools, member of the jury of chemistry competitions and author of scientific articles.

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  1. George

    I agree that this is a myth “Nanoobjects are created by assembling individual atoms.” This is absolutely unrealistic. You explained very clearly why this is not true