What's new in nanosciences and nanotechnologies: progress and trends

The vision and study of the universe is not limited only to the daily environment or to the stars and colossal objects observed, but also to the fundamental components of matter that the human eye cannot perceive, a huge set of particles, structures and properties governed by often counterintuitive parameters. We call it nanoscience and understanding it can expand horizons in terms of developing concepts in science, which lead to new technologies that revolutionize fields ranging from medicine to the environment.
The study of the world at the micro, nano or psychometric level then becomes very specific, which is why there are numerous branches of scientific research which in turn give life to research groups, development projects and, in general, new initiatives. that arise day after day. The nanometric world is currently of particular interest, since numerous applications emerge from it that can be explored in the EIA PhD in EngineeringSome of which will be mentioned later.

What is Nanoscience and Nanotechnology?

In science and engineering, nanoscale refers to distances in the nanometer range, i.e. one-millionth of a millimeter. Atoms and molecules are found at these orders of magnitude, so nanoscience, which deals with studying them, relies on advanced physics, as well as mathematics, chemistry and statistics to be able to describe the phenomena that occur here.
Once the behavior of systems at this scale is understood at least at a basic level (especially properties, types of phenomena and interactions between atoms and molecules), the development of applications begins.
At this point lies nanotechnology, which refers to the modeling, measurement, design, characterization, manufacturing, and application of man-made structures, devices, or systems created through the controlled manipulation of size and shape at the nanometer level. In it, both scientists (mainly physicists and chemists) and engineers of various kinds, making use of previously established concepts, begin an interesting and arduous path of application development.

What happens at the nanometer level?

Atoms and molecules are in constant interaction, so it becomes necessary to manipulate them to build materials useful in technology, medical science or engineering, therefore, the phenomena present in these systems must be taken into consideration. Some interesting examples are Van der Waals interactionswhich are those that hold the molecules together due to the homonymous forces or the propagation of electromagnetic fields through the two types of molecular and/or atomic arrangements most important for nanotechnology: polymers and crystals.
Modeling the vast majority requires solid state, statistical mechanics, and chemistry, depending on where you want to look.
The properties of these materials are many and, in most cases, they can represent the development of applications in many fields, but these can be different depending on:

  1. The surface, Because a material often has more surface area at the nanoscale than a much larger one, and in some cases, millimeter-scale aggregates are more chemically reactive when produced in the form of a nanostructure.
  2. quantum effects play a relevant role at the nanoscale, since the optical, electrical and magnetic properties of the material can change due to electron spin effects, binding energies and other boundary effects described by quantum mechanics that do not play a relevant role in the micro and micro size. macro metrics [8].
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Much of the interest in nanotechnology stems from these unique phenomena exhibited by matter at the nanoscale, such as improve industrial processes, materials and applications in many fields, as well as allowing the creation of completely new ones. Work in this exciting branch of science and engineering begins with doctoral studies.
The EIA has a PhD program in Engineering very comprehensive which is the gateway to an academic and working universe on cutting-edge subjects that focus on the development of cutting-edge technologies.

Applications of nanosciences and nanotechnologies

The possibilities in the study of nanostructures and nanoscale phenomena and, therefore, their applications are almost endless. For this reason, only a few current advances, applications and trends in nanosciences and nanotechnologies will be mentioned here which could easily motivate people to seek career direction.

technology and devices
  1. RAM memory: brain-inspired computing
    RRAM (Resistive Switched Random Access) memory has emerged for non-volatile memory applications with simple structural characteristics, with low cost, high density, high speed, low power, and CMOS compatibility. In recent years, RRAM technology has made significant advances in brain-inspired computing paradigms by taking advantage of its unique physical characteristics, which attempt to eliminate the time-consuming and energy-consuming transfer of data between the processing unit and the memory unit. [6].
    The design of RRAM-based computational paradigms, however, requires a detailed description of the dominant physical effects related to resistive switching processes to perform the interaction and optimization between devices and algorithms or architectures.
  2. organic solar cells
    Photovoltaic (PV) devices based on organic heterojunctions have achieved remarkable power conversion efficiency (PCE) values. However, photodegradation is often a cause of degraded device performance.
    The use of down-shift luminescent layers (LDS) absorbing ultraviolet (UV) is proposed as a mitigation strategy that simultaneously filters UV radiation reaching the device and re-emits it with lower energy in the visible spectrum, equaling maximum response of the photovoltaic cells and thus allowing the increase of the photocurrent generated [7].
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  1. Detection of viral pathogens using graphene, carbon nanotubes and plasmon nanosensors: Developing rapid tests in pandemics like COVID-19
    Carbon nanomaterials are an attractive option for biosensor design due to their scalability, tunable functionality, photostability and unique optoelectronic properties. Using this type of materials, the detection of pathogens can be optical or electrochemical. [4].
  2. Treatment of neglected tropical diseases
    The main problem in the treatment of these diseases is the administration of drugs, since the usual ones (oral or intravenous) are not absorbed efficiently by the body. In this case, nanomaterial-based drugs offer a better therapy, because they allow drugs to be targeted to specific points in the body instead of the regular absorption that often dissipates the drug before it reaches the affected site. [5].
  1. Separation of water and oil by nanostructured copper network
    It is of great practical importance to address the increased discharges of oily industrial wastewater or oil spills into the sea, while avoiding water pollution. Super-wettable smart materials used for oil-water separation have attracted tremendous interest due to their benefits in terms of energy efficiency and applicability across a wide range of industrial processes. [3].
  2. Wastewater management in the textile industry by photocatalytic degradation derived from nanostructures
    It's no secret that the large-scale production of textile products (among many others involving plastics and chemicals) poses a high risk to the planet's surface and groundwater sources. Visible light-driven photocatalysis of semiconductors helps break down polluting chemicals and by-products. It consists of the hydrothermal growth of tin disulfide nanostructures that photodegrade organic pollutants such as rhodamine and methyl violet. [2].
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Challenges in the production of nanomaterials

There are a number of major challenges when it comes to nanofabrication techniques. One of them is the development of sustainable and green alternatives to technologies that do not yet meet these criteria. At the laboratory scale, developing the interface between the macroscopic world and nanodevices is important.
Industrial-scale nanofabrication usually requires the ability to pattern nanostructures over large areas, and few methods exist to achieve this. Some of the current options for creating these nanopatterns are nanoimprint lithography and/or roll-to-roll processing in addition to photolithography. The semiconductor industry continues to push the limits of photolithography technology to achieve ever finer resolution. [8].

study nanotechnology

The development of nanotechnology will continue to grow for several decades, as the true potential of its concepts has not yet been exploited, in addition to the fact that new challenges, new ideas and applications arise every day to improve the lives of human beings. Being fully involved in one of its interesting branches not only leaves a mark on humanity but also enables people to build a life project around the research and development of new technologies. At VIA, professionals in fields such as engineering, science or even education can find a life option by accessing the PhD in Engineering, which delves into nanotechnology and nanoscience as well as innovation issues and to technology.

Bibliographical references:

  • [ 1 ] https://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology/introduction/introduction_to_nanotechnology_1.php
  • [ 2 ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnano.2021.711368/full
  • [ 3 ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnano.2021.757487/full
  • [ 4 ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnano.2021.733126/full
  • [ 5 ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnano.2021.665274/full
  • [ 6 ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnano.2021.654418/full
  • [ 7 ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnano.2021.635929/full
  • [ 8 ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnano.2021.700849/full

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