Application of nanotechnology

application of nanotechnology

Learn about the many applications of nanotechnology, from more durable construction materials to therapeutic drug delivery. Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing field with the potential to revolutionize many industries.

Nanotechnology Applications

Biomedical sensors

Insert a semiconductor chip inside patient body to monitor health parameters. The acquired data is transmitted to a wearable which inturn directs the chip to deliver drug.

Optical Tweezers

Uses light to manipulate nano-sized objects. A flash of light from laser is beamed on nano-sized objects which exerts a force upon it due to radiation pressure. Now we are able to exert precise amount of force to manipulate, move around nano-objects.

Application: Assemble and manipulate nanoparticles, study biomolecules at the level of cells and tissues to better understand diseases and develop new treatments.


Nanosomes nano-objects 800-times thinner than human hair are used to deliver useful nutrients to cells below the skin layer. Eg: Prevention of greying


Hydrophobic silicon nanofilaments used to fabricate wrinkle-free, stain free textiles

Polytetrafluoroethylene nanomaterials used in fabric as filters for liquid water to pass through them, Used in raincoats.

Silver nanoparticles

anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties: are use in socks to avoid infection of toe nail and odour-free.


Natural world – Dogs have receptors that are sensitive to nanoscale chemicals


Nanosensors are used detect specific cells and their properties including their temperature, their fluid concentration, volume etc. Eg: CdSe nanocrystals

image 62

Chemical Sensors

  • Nanosensors can be used to detect presence of a molecule.
  • CNTs are used to detect the presence of glucose
  • ZNO is used to determine the presence of hydrogen and ethanol
image 63
  • Some sensors are used to detect harmful gases
  • Carbon nanotubes wrapped with DNA are used to monitor anti-cancer drugs in the body
  • Gas sensors are used to detect LPG leaks, environmental pollution, breathalyzers etc

Drug Delivery

  • A good drug delivery system is the one that targets specific parts which require the drugs
  • It is able to distribute the drug wherever required.
  • Success of delivery depends on efficient liberation, distribution and absorption
image 64
  • Most disease targets are within the cell. When you use large drug molecule they cannot break the barrier as the cell rejects these molecules owing to their size. Biocompatible nano drug particles have had a huge impact in this area. Liquid dendimers can be used here.
  • Note: Dendimers are spherical polymers that are capable of moving in and out of molecules. They have hooks that can attach to different types of molecules.

Cancer Therapy

Nano-sized drugs with efficient targeting and reduced side effects. Disadvantage of Chemo and radiation therapy is that it releases more than required and is not area-specific. If we can somehow recognise cancer cells from healthy cells cancer therapies can be much more effective.

Here is where size-dependent properties of nanoparticles can be used both to image and develop drug delivery system. Fluorescent quantum dots have size-dependent emission properties. Eg: Cadmium Selenide Quantum dots are known to seep into cancer cells. When you shine UV light on it these quantum dots glow. This can be used to target the surgery.

image 65

Kanzius RF therapy

When I use gold nanoparticles to attach to cancer cells. I can shine radio waves. The gold nanoparticles absorb radio waves readier than healthy cells. As they absorb RF they get heated and burn the attached cells. This is of course because metals absorb light more readily than living tissues.

Carbon Nanotubes in Tissue Engineering

  • A field of medicine which deals with restoring or repairing damaged tissues, cells or organs. Tissue engineering uses living cells grown in laboratory to restore damaged tissues. We have conventionally grown cartilage, skin cells, muscles, bone marrow etc in the lab. No we are able to grow stem cells in the lab. Also we are able to genetically engineer somatic cells to behave like stem cells (iPS cells).
image 66
  • The platform on which these cells are grown are called scaffolds. Scaffolds are temporary structures on which the cells are grown. These scaffolds which when seeded into human body degrade after sometime allowing the cells to grow into tissues. In addition these scaffolds should be biocompatible and biodegradable so that it does not cause harm to the body. Carbon nanotubes are used as scaffolds to regenerate bones.

Water purification

  • Nano-silver: When nano-silver particles are mixed with water they disperse into silver ions. Silver-ions act as very good anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents.

CNT-based LCD

  • Earlier TVs used to use a big cathode ray tube to act as the electron gun.
  • Depending on the voltage that is applied the electron gun would fire different intensity of electron beams onto to phosphor screen.
  • With flat screens you have a lot of tiny little electron guns shooting electron beams at tiny phosphor screens red, blue and green which together form 1 pixel.
  • Conventionally these electron guns are made up of silicon or tungsten.
  • Novel LCD screens will have electro guns made of Carbon Nanotubes for their mechanical strength and chemical inertness. In addition, it can produce strong electron beams at low voltage thereby saving power.

Nanocoated LED/OLED

  • LED also work on the principle of photoelectric effect. They produce light upon an applied voltage. However one problem with LED is that they do not produce pure white light like incandescent light. They emit bluish white light.
  • So, we use nanocoating on the surface of the light with some fluorescent material to absorb the bluish white light and emit white light.
  • Scientists used different chemicals and were able to produce red and green led which was good but there was no fluorescent material to convert this red and green light to white. So gallium nitride was used to produce blue led. Further these blue LEDs were coated with nano crystals of CdSe with zinc sulfide. CdSe produces green and red light upon absorbing blue led resulting in bright white light.

Nano-porous solids

  • Nanopores can act as sites of reaction and can influence the electrical, magnetic and optical property of the material.
  • Zeolite is naturally occuring nano-porouos solid. Our cells are another example of nanoporous solids.
  • Nanoporous silicates, nanoporous phosphates are made in the lab.
  • Activated carbons (carbon obtained from carbonaceous source like wood etc.) are another example of nano-porous substance.
  • They have huge number of pores and thus has large surface area. As a result it can act as adsorbents. Thus, applications include purification of gases, water, extraction of metals, sewage treatment plants, air filters, gas masks etc.

Single-walled Carbon nanotube and Global Electricity Grid

  • SWNTs with its high conductivity, strength and flexibility are best suited for transmission cables that could transmit electricity over long distances with minimal energy loss.

Thus, SWNTs is best-suited material that could be used for a global electric grid that is mooted as a part of OSOWOG initiative. (One Sun One World One Grid).

Read also:

Introduction to Quantum technologiesCarbon Nanotubes
GrapheneQuantum Dots
Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar