Nanoengineering: The skills and tools making technology invisible

(Nanowerk Spotlight) Nanoengineering is a branch of engineering that exploits the unique properties of nanomaterials—their size and quantum effects—and the interaction between these materials, in order to design and manufacture novel structures and devices that possess entirely new functionality and capabilities, which are not obtainable by macroscale engineering.
While the term nanoengineering is often used synonymously with the general term nanotechnology, the former technically focuses more closely on the engineering aspects of the field, as opposed to the broader science and general technology aspects that are encompassed by the latter.
One of the most fascinating aspects of nanoengineering is the incredibly small scale at which it takes place. Consider this example: The first working transistor, built by Bell Labs’ John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley in 1947, measured roughly 1 centimeter across. Today, logic transistor density has surpassed a staggering 100 million transistors per square millimeter. That means that the same surface area of Bell Labs' original transistor can now contain more than 10 billion transistors!
"Nanoengineering: The Skills and Tools Making Technology Invisible" puts a spotlight on some of the scientists who are pushing the boundaries of technology and it gives examples of their work and how they are advancing knowledge one little step at a time.
Nanoengineering: The Skills and Tools Making Technology Invisible
Written by Nanowerk's , this book is a collection of essays about researchers involved in nanoengineering and many other facets of nanotechnologies. This research involves truly multidisciplinary and international efforts, covering a wide range of scientific disciplines such as medicine, materials sciences, chemistry, toxicology, biology and biotechnology, physics and electronics.
The book showcases 176 very specific research projects and you will meet the scientists who develop the theories, conduct the experiments, and build the new materials and devices that will make nanoengineering a core technology platform for many future products and applications.
By catching a glimpse of the wide-ranging, painstaking and intricate work that is taking place in these and thousands of other laboratories around the world, you will begin to appreciate that nanotechnology advances are developed not in big leaps but one tiny step at a time.
Among many other astonishing inventions and developments, you will read about self-powered biosensor contact lenses; electronics, including the batteries that power them, invisibly woven into garments; cyborg microfilters that clean contaminated water; nanogenerators that convert breathing, heartbeat or blood flow into electricity; and tiny sensors that can analyze the inside of a living cell.
A common aspect of many of the nanoengineered elements underlying these feats is their scale: they are not visible to the naked eye. For all intents and purposes, this technology, powerful as it may be, has become invisible to us.
It is also quite amazing how much of nanotechnology-related research is inspired by nature's designs. As a matter of fact, nature is full of examples of sophisticated nanoscopic architectural feats. Whether it is structural colors; adhesion; porous strength; or bacterial navigation and locomotion—they underpin the essential functions of a variety of life forms, from bacteria to berries, wasps to whales.
Each of the book's stories from the wide field of nanoengineering is based on a scientific paper published in a peer-reviewed journal. Although each chapter revolves around scientists who were interviewed for this book, many, if not most, of the scientific accomplishments covered here are the result of collaborative efforts by several scientists and research groups, often from different organizations and different countries.
These stories take you on a journey of scientific discovery into a world so small that it is not open to our direct experience. While our five senses are doing a reasonably good job at representing the world around us on a macro-scale, we have no existing intuitive representation of the nanoworld, ruled by laws entirely foreign to our experience. This is where molecules mingle to create proteins; where you wouldn't recognize water as a liquid; and where minute morphological changes would reveal how much 'solid' things such as the ground or houses are constantly vibrating and moving.
You will catch a glimpse of how diverse, wide-ranging and intriguing this research field is and what kind of amazing and exciting materials and applications nanoengineers have in store for us.
Some stories are more like an introduction to nanotechnology, some are about understanding current developments, and some are advanced technical discussions of leading edge research. Reading this book will shatter the monolithic terms nanotechnology and nanoengineering into the myriad of facets that it really is.
Source: Nanowerk
 

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