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  1. Atomic force microscope
  2. Atomic nanoscope
  3. Atom probe
  4. Ballistic conduction
  5. Bingel reaction
  6. Biomimetic
  7. Bio-nano generator
  8. Bionanotechnology
  9. Break junction
  10. Brownian motor
  11. Bulk micromachining
  12. Cantilever
  13. Carbon nanotube
  14. Carbyne
  15. CeNTech
  16. Chemical Compound Microarray
  17. Cluster
  18. Colloid
  19. Comb drive
  20. Computronium
  21. Coulomb blockade
  22. Diamondoids
  23. Dielectrophoresis
  24. Dip Pen Nanolithography
  25. DNA machine
  26. Ecophagy
  27. Electrochemical scanning tunneling microscope
  28. Electron beam lithography
  29. Electrospinning
  30. Engines of Creation
  31. Exponential assembly
  32. Femtotechnology
  33. Fermi point
  34. Fluctuation dissipation theorem
  35. Fluorescence interference contrast microscopy
  36. Fullerene
  37. Fungimol
  38. Gas cluster ion beam
  39. Grey goo
  40. Hacking Matter
  41. History of nanotechnology
  42. Hydrogen microsensor
  43. Inorganic nanotube
  44. Ion-beam sculpting
  45. Kelvin probe force microscope
  46. Lab-on-a-chip
  47. Langmuir-Blodgett film
  48. LifeChips
  49. List of nanoengineering topics
  50. List of nanotechnology applications
  51. List of nanotechnology topics
  52. Lotus effect
  53. Magnetic force microscope
  54. Magnetic resonance force microscopy
  55. Mechanochemistry
  56. Mechanosynthesis
  57. MEMS thermal actuator
  58. Mesotechnology
  59. Micro Contact Printing
  60. Microelectromechanical systems
  61. Microfluidics
  62. Micromachinery
  63. Molecular assembler
  64. Molecular engineering
  65. Molecular logic gate
  66. Molecular manufacturing
  67. Molecular motors
  68. Molecular recognition
  69. Molecule
  70. Nano-abacus
  71. Nanoart
  72. Nanobiotechnology
  73. Nanocar
  74. Nanochemistry
  75. Nanocomputer
  76. Nanocrystal
  77. Nanocrystalline silicon
  78. Nanocrystal solar cell
  79. Nanoelectrochemistry
  80. Nanoelectrode
  81. Nanoelectromechanical systems
  82. Nanoelectronics
  83. Nano-emissive display
  84. Nanoengineering
  85. Nanoethics
  86. Nanofactory
  87. Nanoimprint lithography
  88. Nanoionics
  89. Nanolithography
  90. Nanomanufacturing
  91. Nanomaterial based catalyst
  92. Nanomedicine
  93. Nanomorph
  94. Nanomotor
  95. Nano-optics
  96. Nanoparticle
  97. Nanoparticle tracking analysis
  98. Nanophotonics
  99. Nanopore
  100. Nanoprobe
  101. Nanoring
  102. Nanorobot
  103. Nanorod
  104. Nanoscale
  105. Nano-Science Center
  106. Nanosensor
  107. Nanoshell
  108. Nanosight
  109. Nanosocialism
  110. Nanostructure
  111. Nanotechnology
  112. Nanotechnology education
  113. Nanotechnology in fiction
  114. Nanotoxicity
  115. Nanotube
  116. Nanovid microscopy
  117. Nanowire
  118. National Nanotechnology Initiative
  119. Neowater
  120. Niemeyer-Dolan technique
  121. Ormosil
  122. Photolithography
  123. Picotechnology
  124. Programmable matter
  125. Quantum dot
  126. Quantum heterostructure
  127. Quantum point contact
  128. Quantum solvent
  129. Quantum well
  130. Quantum wire
  131. Richard Feynman
  132. Royal Society's nanotech report
  133. Scanning gate microscopy
  134. Scanning probe lithography
  135. Scanning probe microscopy
  136. Scanning tunneling microscope
  137. Scanning voltage microscopy
  138. Self-assembled monolayer
  139. Self-assembly
  140. Self reconfigurable
  141. Self-Reconfiguring Modular Robotics
  142. Self-replication
  143. Smart dust
  144. Smart material
  145. Soft lithography
  146. Spent nuclear fuel
  147. Spin polarized scanning tunneling microscopy
  148. Stone Wales defect
  149. Supramolecular assembly
  150. Supramolecular chemistry
  151. Supramolecular electronics
  152. Surface micromachining
  153. Surface plasmon resonance
  154. Synthetic molecular motors
  155. Synthetic setae
  156. Tapping AFM
  157. There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom
  158. Transfersome
  159. Utility fog


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List of nanotechnology applications

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the main article, see Nanotechnology.

With nanotechnology, a large set of materials and improved products rely on a change in the physical properties when the feature sizes are shrunk. Nanoparticles for example take advantage of their dramatically increased surface area to volume ratio. Their optical properties, e.g. fluorescence, become a function of the particle diameter. When brought into a bulk material, nanoparticles can strongly influence the mechanical properties, such as the stiffness or elasticity. Example, traditional polymers can be reinforced by nanoparticles resulting in novel materials e.g. as lightweight replacements for metals. Therefore, an increasing societal benefit of such nanoparticles can be expected.

Such nanotechnologically enhanced materials will enable a weight reduction accompanied by an increase in stability and an improved functionality.


The biological and medical research communities have exploited the unique properties of nanomaterials for various applications (e.g., contrast agents for cell imaging and therapeutics for treating cancer). Terms such as biomedical nanotechnology, bionanotechnology, and nanomedicine are used to describe this hybrid field.

Functionalities can be added to nanomaterials by interfacing them with biological molecules or structures. The size of nanomaterials is similar to that of most biological molecules and structures; therefore, nanomaterials can be useful for both in vivo and in vitro biomedical research and applications.

Thus far, the integration of nanomaterials with biology has led to the development of diagnostic devices, contrast agents, analytical tools, physical therapy applications, and drug-delivery vehicles.


Nanotechnology-on-a-chip is one more dimension of lab-on-a-chip technology. Biological tests measuring the presence or activity of selected substances become quicker, more sensitive and more flexible when certain nanoscale particles are put to work as tags or labels. Magnetic nanoparticles, bound to a suitable antibody, are used to label specific molecules, structures or microorganisms. Gold nanoparticles tagged with short segments of DNA can be used for detection of genetic sequence in a sample. Multicolor optical coding for biological assays has been achieved by embedding different-sized quantum dots into polymeric microbeads. Nanopore technology for analysis of nucleic acids converts strings of nucleotides directly into electronic signatures.

Drug delivery

The overall drug consumption and side-effects can be lowered significantly by depositing the active agent in the morbid region only and in no higher dose than needed. This highly selective approach reduces costs and human suffering. An example can be found in dendrimers and nanoporous materials. They could hold small drug molecules transporting them to the desired location. Another vision is based on small electromechanical systems: NEMS are being investigated for the active release of drugs. Some potentially important applications include cancer treatment with iron nanoparticles or gold shells.

A targeted or personalized medicine reduces the drug consumption and treatment expenses resulting in an overall societal benefit by reducing the costs to the public health system.

Tissue engineering

Nanotechnology can help to reproduce or to repair damaged tissue. This so called “tissue engineering” makes use of artificially stimulated cell proliferation by using suitable nanomaterial-based scaffolds and growth factors. Tissue engineering might replace today’s conventional treatments, e.g. transplantation of organs or artificial implants. On the other hand, tissue engineering is closely related to the ethical debate on human stem cells and its ethical implications.

Chemistry and environment

Chemical catalysis and filtration techniques are two prominent examples where nanotechnology already plays a role. The synthesis provides novel materials with tailored features and chemical properties e.g. nanoparticles with a distinct chemical surrounding (ligands) or specific optical properties. In this sense, chemistry is indeed a basic nanoscience. In a short-term perspective, chemistry will provide novel “nanomaterials” and in the long run, superior processes such as “self-assembly” will enable energy and time preserving strategies.

In a sense, all chemical synthesis can be understood in terms of nanotechnology, because of its ability to manufacture certain molecules. Thus, chemistry forms a base for nanotechnology providing tailor-made molecules, polymers etc. and furthermore clusters and nanoparticles.


Chemical catalysis benefits especially from nanoparticles, due to the extremely large surface to volume ratio. The application potential of nanoparticles in catalysis ranges from fuel cell to catalytic converters and photocatalytic devices. Catalysis is also important for the production of chemicals.


A strong influence of nanochemistry on waste-water treatment, air purification and energy storage devices is to be expected. Mechanical or chemical methods can be used for effective filtration techniques. One class of filtration techniques is based on the use of membranes with suitable hole sizes, whereby the liquid is pressed through the membrane. Nanoporous membranes are suitable for a mechanical filtration with extremely small pores smaller than 10 nm (“nanofiltration”). Nanofiltration is mainly used for the removal of ions or the separation of different fluids. On a larger scale, the membrane filtration technique is named ultrafiltration, which works down to between 10 and 100 nm. One important field of application for ultrafiltration is medical purposes as can be found in renal dialysis.

Magnetic nanoparticles offer an effective and reliable method to remove heavy metal contaminants from waste water by making use of magnetic separation techniques. Using nanoscale particles increases the efficiency to absorb the contaminants and is comparatively inexpensive compared to traditional precipitation and filtration methods.


The most advanced nanotechnology projects related to energy are: storage, conversion, manufacturing improvements by reducing materials and process rates, energy saving e.g. by better thermal insulation, and enhanced renewable energy sources.

Reduction of energy consumption

A reduction of energy consumption can be reached by better insulation systems, by the use of more efficient lighting or combustion systems, and by use of lighter and stronger materials in the transportation sector. Currently used light bulbs only convert approximately 5% of the electrical energy into light. Nanotechnological approaches like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or quantum caged atoms (QCAs) could lead to a strong reduction of energy consumption for illumination.

Increasing the efficiency of energy production

For more details on this topic, see Nanocrystal solar cell.

Today's best solar cells have layers of two different semiconductors stacked together to absorb light at different energies but they still only manage to use 30 percent of the Sun's energy. Commercially available solar cells have much lower efficiencies (less than 20%). Nanotechnology could help increase the efficiency of light conversion by specifically designed nanostructures. The degree of efficiency of combustion engines is not higher than 15-20% at the moment. Nanotechnology could improve combustion by designing specific catalysts with maximized surface area. Scientists have recently developed tetrad-shaped nanoparticles that, when applied to a surface, instantly transform it into a solar collector.[citation needed]

The use of more environmentally friendly energy systems

An example for an environmentally friendly form of energy is the use of fuel cells powered by hydrogen, which is ideally produced by renewable energies. Probably the most prominent nanostructured material in fuel cells is the catalyst consisting of carbon supported noble metal particles with diameters of 1- 5 nm. Suitable materials for hydrogen storage contain a large number of small nanosized pores. Therefore many nanostructured materials like nanotubes, zeolites or alanates are under investigation.

Nanotechnology can contribute to the further reduction of combustion engine pollutants by nanoporous filters, which can clean the exhaust mechanically, by catalytic converters based on nanoscale noble metal particles or by catalytic coatings on cylinder walls and catalytic nanoparticles as additive for fuels.

Recycling of batteries

Because of the relatively low energy density of batteries the operating time is limited and a replacement or recharging is needed. The huge number of spent batteries and accumulators represent a disposal problem. The use of batteries with higher energy content or the use of rechargeable batteries or supercapacitors with higher rate of recharging using nanomaterials could be helpful for the battery disposal problem.

Information and communication

Current high-technology production processes are based on traditional top down strategies, where nanotechnology has already been introduced silently. The critical length scale of integrated circuits is already at the nanoscale (50 nm and below) regarding the gate length of transistors in CPUs or DRAM devices.

Novel semiconductor devices

An example of such novel devices is based on spintronics.The dependence of the resistance of a material (due to the spin of the electrons) on an external field is called magnetoresistance. This effect can be significantly amplified (GMR - Giant Magneto-Resistance) for nanosized objects, for example when two ferromagnetic layers are separated by a nonmagnetic layer, which is several nanometers thick (e.g. Co-Cu-Co). The GMR effect has led to a strong increase in the data storage density of hard disks and made the gigabyte range possible. The so called tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) is very similar to GMR and based on the spin dependent tunneling of electrons through adjacent ferromagnetic layers. Both GMR and TMR effects can be used to create a non-volatile main memory for computers, such as the so called magnetic random access memory or MRAM.

Novel optoelectronic devices

In the modern communication technology traditional analog electrical devices are increasingly replaced by optical or optoelectronic devices due to their enormous bandwidth and capacity, respectively. Two promising examples are photonic crystals and quantum dots.

Photonic crystals are materials with a periodic variation in the refractive index with a lattice constant that is half the wavelength of the light used. They offer a selectable band gap for the propagation of a certain wavelength, thus they resemble a semiconductor, but for light or photons instead of electrons.

Quantum dots are nanoscaled objects, which can be used, among many other things, for the construction of lasers. The advantage of a quantum dot laser over the traditional semiconductor laser is that their emitted wavelength depends on the diameter of the dot. Quantum dot lasers are cheaper and offer a higher beam quality than conventional laser diodes.


The production of displays with low energy consumption could be accomplished using carbon nanotubes (CNT). Carbon nanotubes can be electrically conductive and due to their small diameter of several nanometers, they can be used as field emitters with extremely high efficiency for field emission displays (FED). The principle of operation resembles that of the cathode ray tube, but on a much smaller length scale.


Nanoscale devices exhibit dominant nonlinearities that prevent their use as two-state devices in digital computers. The idea behind nanologic is to exploit these nonlinearities (rather than suppress them) to implement functions that correspond to mathematical sets: interval numbers, disjoint intervals, fuzzy numbers, fuzzy sets, etc. Simple nanoelectronic circuits can be designed that can represent sets and set operations, and an array of such devices constitutes a universal mathematical processor, able to solve any problem that can be expressed in set theory. Nanologic will find most value for human-meaningful problems involving uncertainty, ambiguity, error, under-specified and over-specified systems, and for approximate analysis of combinatorially intractable problems, including mathematical theorems.

Quantum computers

Entirely new approaches for computing exploit the laws of quantum mechanics for novel quantum computers, which enable the use of fast quantum algorithms.

The Quantum computer will have quantum bit memory space termed qubit for several computations at the same time.

Consumer goods

Nanotechnology is already impacting the field of consumer goods, providing products with novel functions ranging from easy-to-clean to scratch-resistant. Modern textiles are wrinkle-resistant and stain-repellent; in the mid-term clothes will become “smart”, through embedded “wearable electronics”. Already in use are different nanoparticle improved products. Especially in the field of cosmetics such novel products have a promising potential.


Nanotechnology can be applied in the production, processing, safety and packaging of food. A nanocomposite coating process could improve food packaging by placing anti-microbial agents directly on the surface of the coated film. Nanocomposites could increase or decrease gas permeability of different fillers as is needed for different products. They can also improve the mechanical and heat-resistance properties and lower the oxygen transmission rate. Research is being performed to apply nanotechnology to the detection of chemical and biological substances for sensing biochemical changes in foods.


The most prominent application of nanotechnology in the household is self-cleaning or “easy-to-clean” surfaces on ceramics or glasses. Nanoceramic particles have improved the smoothness and heat resistance of common household equipment such as the flat iron.


The first sunglasses using protective and antireflective ultrathin polymer coatings are on the market. For optics, nanotechnology also offers scratch resistant coatings based on nanocomposites. They can also help in laser sugery, as they can fix the pupil.


The use of engineered nanofibers already makes clothes water- and stain-repellent or wrinkle-free. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. Nanotechnology has been used to integrate tiny carbon particles membrane and guarantee full-surface protection from electrostatic charges for the wearer. A military application could be in camoflage where nanocameras mixed with nanodisplays could create an "invisibility coat", acting like the skin of a Chameleon.


One field of application is in sunscreens. The traditional chemical UV protection approach suffers from its poor long-term stability. A sunscreen based on mineral nanoparticles such as titanium dioxide offer several advantages. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have a comparable UV protection property as the bulk material, but lose the cosmetically undesirable whitening as the particle size is decreased.

See also

Potential applications of carbon nanotubes

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