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Nanotechnology – Definitions and Explanations Continue to Surface

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 7/16/2008

Different types and definitions of nanotechnology exist, and scientists are working to further define and develop products from the use of nanotechnology.

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    In the scope of defining nanotechnology, it is better and easier to understand it by breaking it down into different definitions. In addition to incremental nanotechnology, evolutionary nanotechnology is a phrase coined by scientists to describe how we move beyond more simple products and move toward products that have been changed and improved on a nano-scale level. Devices that utilize this technology can be responsible for sensing the environment, converting energy from one form and source to another and the ability to process information.

    These kinds of devices can include many nano-scale sensors that show the large surface area of nanotubes made up of carbon and other kinds of nano materials in order to detect contaminations or biochemicals in our environment. Some other products that are derived from evolutionary nanotechnology are kinds of semiconductors that can be used as quantum dots and wells that scientists are using to create better quality types of lasers.

    Scientists and researchers are working to develop more sophisticated methods of encapsulating certain molecules and then being able to deliver them as needed and on demand to the targeted drug destinations. When combined, incremental along with evolutionary nanotechnology have become the driving forces behind the current buzz of excitement in the educational and scientific communities. There are currently big steps being taken in evolutionary nanotechnology, and more and more types of products should be coming available on the market to the public over the course of the next few years.

    Although evolutionary nanotechnology has been around for a while, it is a constant work in progress for scientists and researchers to be able to fine tune and develop products that they will be able to market in the healthcare and other industries.

    So where does this leave the original skeptic views of radical nanotechnology? According to Eric Drexler back in 1986, an influential book was published that created visions of sophisticated nano-scale kinds of machines that could operate with precision on an atomic scale. This view came to be known as radical nanotechnology and included the notions of being able to use materials like diamonds to make nano-scale structures by the movement of reactive molecular particles into place. This early view was extremely mechanical in approach and saw each step as different pieces that somehow all formed together to create a working structure.

    This theory of nanotechnology was accepted by many, but scientists knew other definitions and uses of nanotechnology could exist.

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    More on Nanotechnology

    This exciting new field is growing at a rapid pace. If you want to learn more read The Future of Nanotechnology, Progression in Nanotechnology, or try What is Nanotechnology?