While technical and intimidating at a glance, nanotechnology is a relatively simple science that expands the basic concepts of physics and chemistry. Nanotechnology is the science where characteristic dimensions are less than about 1,000 nanometers (“Dr. Ralph Merkle”). A nanometer is roughly one millionth of a millimeter. In perspective one human hair is 100,000 nanometers wide. All manufactured products, both through human methods and nature, are made from atoms. The properties of those products depend on how those atoms are arranged (“Dr. Ralph Merkle”). If one were to rearrange the properties through atom manipulation any imaginable object can be assembled. Essentially, one may associate atoms with the same principles and parameters as a Lego block. A set of Lego blocks stacked on each other holds a definitive shape, just as any object or person would. If one were to rearrange the stack of blocks into a rectangle or toy boat, the Lego blocks would still carry their distinct characteristics as blocks but form into something new. In Nanotechnology, atoms are being arranged just as one would Lego blocks. The atoms are never altered but allocated in a different manner. Since atoms compose everything, if one were to rearrange the atoms in dirt, water, and air, potatoes can be produced (“Dr. Ralph Merkle”). With nanotechnology there is a seemingly infinite amount of possibilities for what one can create.
|Monday, January 19, 2004|