How did nanotech get red-flagged with a ‘new and unknown’ label after literally millennia on the planet? Quite simply, it’s because we didn’t have the technology to see objects at the nanoscale…It took till the 20th century to change all that.
Valley View, Ohio (PRWEB) February 26, 2013
“How did nanotech get red-flagged with a ‘new and unknown’ label after literally millennia on the planet?” asks Nanofilm CEO Scott Rickert, in his February IndustryWeek column Taking the NanoPulse. “Quite simply, it’s because we didn’t have the technology to see objects at the nanoscale…It took till the 20th century to change all that.”
Rickert’s column, a monthly feature at IndustryWeek.com, explores the fact that nanoscale substances have long been present in the environment, even as naturally-occurring materials. “With the advent of the scanning electron microscope, we could see our world in 1,000,000x magnification,” Rickert notes. “They could begin to identify, measure and characterize the unseen science that had been all around us forever – in both natural and manmade forms.”
Rickert explains that one of the earliest applications of nanotechnology was for water purification. “The ancient Egyptians put gold and silver utensils in their water vessels as an antibacterial…Of course, the Egyptians didn’t know nanotechnology was part of their water purification regimen. It’s only now that we understand that nanoparticles of the precious metals formed naturally on the vessel walls from their macro-size components.”
Rickert points out other ancient examples, including both natural and manmade forms. “The ocean waves that beat rocks into sand create nanoscale versions of the elements, too. Volcanic eruptions produce nanomaterials,” he writes. “Fourth century glassware had nanoparticles in the glaze. Carbon nanotubes provided the hardness in thirteenth century swords.”
It only since the 1980s that scientists have had the ability to visualize nanomaterials and, thus begin, “using nanotechnology to strengthen plastics, make waterproof surfaces, fight disease, improve the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, shrink electronics,” concludes Rickert. “That’s a pretty impressive history of accomplishment – not to mention health and environmental safety.”
The full article, titled Nanotechnology’s 4,500-year health record, can be read at IndustryWeek.com.
Scott Rickert is the co-founder and CEO of Nanofilm. He has been the nanotechnology columnist for IndustryWeek.com since 2006. He is a founding board member of the Nanobusiness Commercialization Association and the Nano-Network and frequently writes and speaks on nanotechnology research and commercialization.
Nanofilm ([http://www.nanofilmtechnology.com) is a leader in nanofilm technology and self-assembling thin films for a variety of substrates and surfaces. With an in-house team of nanotechnology specialists, the company continues to leverage its rich technological strengths and core competences to capture growth opportunities in nanotechnology applications worldwide. Nanofilm is a privately held company with headquarters in Valley View, Ohio, near Cleveland.