Nanotechnology, by definition, is the technology of materials and structures in which the order of magnitude is measured in nanometers, that is, one billionth of a meter. This means that atoms and molecules can be precisely manipulated to produce micro-scale products.
It may seem a distant topic to those who do not relate, on a daily basis, with new technologies, but what is the importance of nanotechnology in our everyday lives?
Felipe Pacheco, CEO & Founder of nanotechnology company Adrox says that “thanks to nanotechnology, it is possible to reduce the amount of materials used, but make more and with more properties, considering that each day there are more people on the planet.”
If we put the concept of nanotechnology in practice, it is possible to mention that, in construction, we have been able to improve the strength of cement using silicon nanoparticles, or to achieve self-cleaning effects in glass through nanoparticle covers of titanium dioxide. In the energy sector there are additives for fuels, based on cerium oxide, that reduce the release of pollutants and improve efficiency.
At the same time, in the textile sector, there are covers of silver nanoparticles for antibacterial treatments or others that reduce the adhesion of particles and so avoid the appearance of certain types of spots. In cosmetics, zinc oxide or gold nanoparticles are used, looking for cellular regeneration effects.
In this way multiple examples can be given on nanotechnology in sectors such as medicine, transport, chemistry, and even sports.
And while research on nanotechnology is led by the United States, China and the European Union, Chile is not far behind. According to the nanotechnology expert, “In Chile there have been improvements and advances at universities such as the University of Antofagasta, the Federico Santa Maria University and the Catholic University of Santiago, where nanotechnology has been developed and researched”.
NANOTECHNOLOGY IN THE SOLAR INDUSTRY
Chile´s first interest in nanotechnology came from the solar industry. Thanks to nanotechnology, it is possible to reduce the use of water resources and to increase energy production in that industry.
“Nanotechnology has been fundamental in the field of solar industry, since it has made it possible to work with nanocoatings that protect the solar panels from particles that affect the generation of energy negatively”, comments Pacheco.
In other words, thanks to nanocoatings, cleaning costs can be reduced, both in water use and in labor.
Although there are thousands of companies in the world that develop nanotechnology, there are still many tasks pending and areas to explore in nanotechnology, which undoubtedly will make it the technology of the 21st century.