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History and Timeline of Nanotechnology

Lecture III
History of Nanotechnology - Continued
Nano meets Bio
By the 1990s, scientists began coupling nanotechnology and biotechnology in their
experiments because their length scales were compatible, but on the other hand there were
significant challenges involved. The biological systems are fundamentally wet and organic
whereas the nano-fabricated systems were hydrophobic and made of inorganic materials. So
the major problem faced was how we could physically couple these two divergent systems.
Some scientists circumvented this obstacle by creating nano-machines made out of natural
molecules; still other scientists discovered or developed new coupling chemistries to provide
as an interface for these two divergent systems. Device researches had then even developed
complex hybrid micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and Nano-electro mechanical
[15]
systems (NEMS) composed of a combination of synthetic and biological components .
Some of the uses of nanobiotechnology are depicted in the image below.

Recent Advances and Nanotechnology in media (Image courtesy: nano.gov)

Nanotechnology is being used and creating waves in the public in many ways. There have
been groundbreaking discoveries in the recent past and the term Nanotechnology is
becoming a common word in the livelihood of an average person.
[16]

Molecular targeting of liposomal nanoparticles to tumor microenvironment


is being done
and is being seen as a very effective drug delivery mechanism and a very big step towards
curing cancer. Active liposomal targeting to these tumor cells is done by recognizing specific
tumor receptors through tumor-specific ligands or antibodies coupled onto the surface of the
liposomes, or by stimulus-sensitive drug carriers such as acid-triggered release or enzymetriggered drug release.
[17]

Eric Drexler had put forward the concept of Grey Goo


and it gained popularity when a
newspaper allegedly suggested that the Prince of Wales had expressed fears about the grey
goo. In his book Engines of Creation, Eric Drexler, one of the pioneers in the field of
Nanotechnology had described Universal assembles (also called nanobots) that would
assemble large scale objects atom by atom (the bottom-up approach), a concept which is now
known as molecular nanotechnology. Drexler had concerns that a possible outcome could be
that these nanobots would self replicate and become out of control consuming more and more
to support the process and leave in their wake grey goo.

Future Scope
Nanotechnology is advancing towards a future which still seems far from reality. The
machines used in the world of science fiction Star Trek, which had the capability of
producing any tangible object, are going to be no more a figment of our imagination.
Scientists are working to develop machines which can alter the structure of individual atoms
and molecules to allow the compatible ones to come together, much like magnets, to
produce bigger products. In layman terms, tiny metal particles, in the form of dust can be
engineered to form bigger, bulkier chunks of metal. These products produced using the
bottom-up approach would not only be stronger, but would also be cheaper and would reduce
the manufacturing costs drastically. This concept of molecular manufacturing could
revolutionize the world. Various fields would be impacted ranging from the medical history
to the environment. Molecular manufacturing can be used to design nanobots which could be
consumed orally and would have the capability of reprogramming and restructuring the
cancerous cells. Delicate surgeries can be performed using nanobots which also have the
additional advantage of leaving no scars unlike the conventional surgery. Plastic surgeries, to
alter the physical features, could also be performed much easily. On the environmental front,
the ozone layer which has been depleting ever since could be reconstructed with the aid of
airborne nanobots. Production of the non-renewable sources of energy using molecular
manufacturing would diminish our dependence on these exhaustible sources.

All the above mentioned


applications
of
nanotechnology
have
been
considered
by
researchers but these
exotic applications still
dont seem realizable in
the near future. But going
by the trends in this field
in the past 40 years,
nanotechnology has a
great potential and much
of it is still unleashed.
The growth of Nanotech
hnology (Ima
ge courtesy:
Timelin
Ke
events
futurettimeline)
e:
y
in

Nanotechnology
y
DEC 29, Richard Feynman
1959 talke meeting
t at the
America

about Nanotechnology in a
ndPhysical so ciety
t
n

1960

M
f
William McLellan
constructed the first
ever 25 0microgram
m 2000motor out of thirteen
rpm separate parts

1974

Professor Norio Ta iguchi coined the term


n
m
Nanotec hnology

1981 Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer ented the STM


c
v
in
(Scanning Tunneling Microscopy) that
scientists osee and ma nipulate at th eenabled
t
atomic level

1985

Researchers at Rice University


U
discovered the
fullerenes (also known as Buckyballs)
l

1986

Gerd Binnig, Calvin F. Quate and


Christoph Gerber together invented
AFM (Atomic
Force M
Microscopy), one
o
of
the
key
contributions
to
Nanotechnology
n

1991

Sumio Iijima of NEC discovered the Carbon


C
d
Nanotube

1994

USA science advisor Dr. Jack Gibbons talked


about Nanotechnology at the White House

1995

Dr. Chad Mirkin


Nanolithography)

invented

DPN

(Dip-Pen

1996

The first European conference was held to discuss


h
about the emerging field of Nanotechnology

1997

Zyvex, the first company to research in


Nanotechnology,
is o
n
ffounded. First design of
nanorobotic system comes.
m

1999

Safety guidelines are laid around dangers in


handling o
of Nanotechnology experiments
m

2001

2003

F.C. Simmel creates a DNA-fuelled molecular


ea of DNA
m
machine made

Jennifer West and Naomi Halas at Rice


University develop gold nanoshells that can be
used to destroy
d
h
cancer cells without
harming
adjacent healthy tissue

2004

The National Cancer Institute establishes


the
s
Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer

2005

Researchers at IBM develop vertical nanowire


transistors tthat can be u ed to produce more
s
e
powerful microprocessors

2006

Researchers at Rice University develop a low-cost


rv
method of uusing nanoparticles
to remove
o arsenic in
drinking water
a
n

2008

Researchers at Berkeley discover negative


refraction too bend light in materials made from
nanowires, for use in developing
optical lenses with
v
t
much high er resolution than conventional lenses

2010

Harvard University researchers demonstrate a


nanoscale transistor to measure electrical
m
activity
in a human heart cello

Researc

ers at New

ork University and China's


Nanjing University demonstrate
an assembly-line
e
n
method u
using nanorobots
b built from
m DNA strands
d

References
1)

N. Taniguchi, "On the Basic Concept of 'Nano-Technology'," Proc. Intl. Conf. Prod.
Eng. Tokyo, Part II, Japan Society of Precision Engineering, 1974

2)

Drexler, K. Eric (1986). Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology.


Doubleday.ISBN 0-385-19973-2

3)

G. Binnig, H. Rohrer (1986). "Scanning tunneling microscopy". IBM Journal of


Research and Development 30

4)

Binnig, G.; Quate, C. F. (1986). "Atomic Force Microscope". Physical Review Letters
56 (9): 930933

5)

Iijima, S (1980). "Direct observation of the tetrahedral bonding in graphitized carbon


black by high resolution electron microscopy". Journal of Crystal Growth 50 (3):
675.Bibcode:1980JCrGr..50..675I. doi:10.1016/0022-0248(80)90013-5

6)

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/28488.wss

7)

Wang, X.; Li, Qunqing; Xie, Jing; Jin, Zhong; Wang, Jinyong; Li, Yan; Jiang,
Kaili; Fan, Shoushan (2009). "Fabrication of Ultralong and Electrically Uniform
Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes on Clean Substrates". Nano Letters 9 (9): 31373141.Bibcode:2009NanoL...9.3137W. doi:10.1021/nl901260b. PMID 19650638

8)

C.A. Mirkin, et al., "A DNA-based method for rationally assembling nanoparticles into
macroscopic materials,"Nature, 382(6592): 607-9, 1996

9)

R. Elganian, et al., "Selective colorimetric detection of polynucleotides based on the


distance-dependent optical properties of gold nanoparticles," Science, 277(5329): 107881, 1997

10) R.D. Piner, et al., "'Dip-pen' lithography," Science, 283(5402): 661-3, 1999
11) Nam, J. M.; Thaxton, C. S.; Mirkin, C. A. Nanoparticle-based bio-bar codes for the
ultrasensitive detection of proteins, Science, 2003, 301, 1884-1886
12) F. C. Simmel and B. Yurke, DNA molecular motors, Proc. SPIE Vol. 4332, p. 419-428,
Smart Structures and Materials (2001)
13) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v406/n6796/fig_tab/406605a0_F2.html
14) Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration 2007,2:3 doi:10.1186/1747-53332-3
15)

Zhao G, Rodriguez, December 2012. Volume 2013:8(1) Pages 61 - 71 DOI:


http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S37859

16) Geim, A. K. and Novoselov, K. S. (2007). "The rise of graphene". Nature Materials 6
(3): 183191
17) Drexler, K. Eric (1986). Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology.
Doubleday.ISBN 0-385-19973-2