Nanotechnology and Its Role in Promoting Sustainability
Nanotechnology resides in the heart of fundamental research and commercial development, today. Atomic matter is manipulated and controlled using nanotechnology to create interesting and sometimes sustainable innovations. While companies are continuing to unearth the full extent of this technology, some have managed to use it to benefit a sustainable environment.
Nanotechnology in Agriculture
The UN has been encouraging companies to come up with solutions to solve the issues with energy consumption in the agriculture sector, to meet the needs of the growing population. The research and development of materials using nanotechnology has shown a promising success in agriculture over the last few years. Using precision agriculture, farmers are not able to effectively direct fertilizers and water on target and zero waste.
Researchers used nanotechnologically enhanced zinc particles to fertilize beans that are popular in Asia. The result was a profound increase in yield and growth of the plants. Furthermore, the nutritional value of the plants was enhanced. By using the enhanced zinc nanoparticles, farming will continue without the need for natural minerals and energy that conventional fertilizers require. The quality of the land, disease prevention in crops and the purification of heavy metals in agriculture can be monitored using nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology in Medicine
New research suggests that Nanotechnology has been used to find cancers that are present in deep-tissues. These cancers which were previously difficult to locate, now have a possibility of being spotted and treated early. To take things further, the technology has also shown promise in the delivery of medicine for cancer patients using light.
There has been a rising concern with bacteria and viruses that are immune to antibiotics these days. This has led to overusing and abusing the currently available antibiotics. In the effort to fight against these super-bugs, the use of nanotechnology in medicine has been effective. Nanoscale quantum dots have been used by researchers to successfully curb the growth and development of these bugs.
The quantum dots are activated by light and kill off infections, without destroying healthy tissue that surround it. The nanoparticles also help in regeneration of healthy cells. Even though the research has only gone as far as test-tubes at this stage, there is potential for enhancements. With these findings, the ability to use light in medicine effectively has a promising future. The use of light in disinfection of medical equipment, phototherapy and chemotherapy is currently being explored, which can greatly aid in sustainability in the field of medicine.
Nanotechnology in 2018
Apart from agriculture and medicine, nanotechnology has shown incredible prospective in other industries as well. In Japan, the first Nano-water has been engineering to allow for both fresh and salt water fish to live together in the same type of water. Tools like microscopes and probes to be able to handle and monitor nanoparticles have seen significant innovation this year as well.
A new biomaterial has been invented which can be used to replace damaged tissue in humans. This material does not wrinkle when it is stretched. Lastly, a new source of energy called Thermopower has been discovered using nanotechnology this year. The use of this energy is powerful in nanophysics and especially in conducting energy through nanotubes, which had initially posed a sustainability issue.