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‘Nanotechnology may overtake IT’

Posted by cvbasheer on September 13, 2009

Nanotechnology being a scientific field of recent emergence, research is at the evolving stage, but scientists are certain that it will hold sway in a variety of fields. Its areas of application vary from identification of genetic disorders to development of cheaper electronic goods, experts say. It may overtake information technology in the years ahead, according to them. Pulickel M. Ajayan, a scientist at Rice University, Texas, U.S., who had been doing research in the field, told The Hindu that nanotechnology has the potential to overtake IT in applicability. His research on carbon nano tubes has contributed to energy storage applications, he said.

Low investment

IT had spread across the world because of the low investment required. But research in nanotechnology required high investment, he said. The U.S. and Japan have been in the forefront in the research in the field. India ranks below China and Korea in terms of research in nanotechnology, according to him. Suresh Valiaveettil, associate professor, department of chemistry, National University of Singapore, had been conducting research into the action of nano particles in living cells. For the research purpose, he had selected a type of fish having translucent skin. The eggs of the fish were allowed to hatch in a medium containing nano particles of gold, to find out whether there was toxicity due to contact with nano particles. The experiment was repeated by using platinum nano particles. He was trying to examine the impact of nano particles on biological synthesis ultimately, he said. The findings of the research would be highly significant, according to him.

Part of everyday life

Nanotechnology had already become part of many applications in everyday life. Nano particles are used in dressing wounds as they reduce microbial infection. Silver nano particles are included in some detergents to prevent microbial action. Some of the air conditioning equipment manufacturers were using nano particles on filters to destroy fungus, he said. The impact of nano particles on the environment is the subject of his latest research. The nano particles from detergents could penetrate into the layers of the soil, ultimately reaching the drinking water sources. His research was aimed at finding health hazards in people who consume water containing nano particles.

Rani Joseph, professor of rubber technology, Cochin University of Science and Technology, who had done research on the use of carbon nano tubes, said the evolving branch of science needed more attention. It was part of the curriculum at the National Institute of Technology at Kozhikkode. More centres for study of nanotechnology would go a long way in finding new avenues for research in the field, she said.


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