Nanographenes Attracting wide interest from Researchers – ‘Zipping-up’ rings to Make Nanographenes


Graphene Nanorings 162497_webA fast and efficient method for graphene nanoribbon synthesis

INSTITUTE OF TRANSFORMATIVE BIO-MOLECULES (ITBM), NAGOYA UNIVERSITY

Nanographenes are attracting wide interest from many researchers as a powerful candidate for the next generation of carbon materials due to their unique electric properties. Scientists at Nagoya University have now developed a fast way to form nanographenes in a controlled fashion. This simple and powerful method for nanographene synthesis could help generate a range of novel optoelectronic materials, such as organic electroluminescent displays and solar cells.

Nagoya, Japan – A group of chemists of the JST-ERATO Itami Molecular Nanocarbon Project and the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) of Nagoya University, and their colleagues have developed a simple and powerful method to synthesize nanographenes. This new approach, recently described in the journal Science, is expected to lead to significant progress in organic synthesis, materials science and catalytic chemistry.

Nanographenes, one-dimensional nanometer-wide strips of graphene, are molecules composed of benzene units. Nanographenes are attracting interest as a powerful candidate for next generation materials, including optoelectronic materials, due to their unique electric characteristics. These properties of nanographenes depend mainly on their width, length and edge structures. Thus, efficient methods to access structurally controlled nanographenes is highly desirable.

The ideal synthesis of nanographenes would be a ‘LEGO’-like assembly of benzene units to define the exact number and shape of the molecule. However, this direct approach is currently not possible. The team developed an alternative method that is simple and controls the nanographene structure as it forms in three key steps.

First, simple benzene derivatives are assembled linearly, through a cross-coupling reaction. Then, these benzene chains are connected to each other by a palladium catalyst that leads to a molecule with three benzene rings bound together in a flat, triangle-like shape. This process repeats all the way up the chain, effectively zipping up the rings together.

The innovation the team developed was a new way to achieve the middle step that forms the three-ring triangle-like unit that forms the core for further reactions to generate the nanographene molecule. A classic technique to connect benzene units uses aryl halides as reaction reagents. Aryl halides are aromatic compounds in which one or more hydrogen atoms bonded to an aromatic ring are replaced by halogen atoms such as fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), or iodine (I). This allows benzene to connect at a single point through a process called dimerization, which was discovered by Fritz Ullmann and Jean Bielecki in 1901. However, the Ullmann reaction does not generate nanographenes when using the compound phenylene as the starting material.

The team discovered that using a palladium catalyst enabled connections between benzene units at two points, providing the triangle-like structure of three benzene rings. A triphenylene moiety is formed in the center of each group of rings.

“This discovery was quite accidental,” says Designated Associate Professor Kei Murakami, a chemist at Nagoya University and one of the leaders of this study. “We think that this reaction is the key of this new approach for nanographene synthesis.”

The team then utilized a process called the Scholl reaction to repeat this process and successfully synthesize a nanographene molecule. The reaction proceeds in a similar manner to benzene rings being zipped up, with the triphenylene moiety acting as the core.

“One of the most difficult parts of this research was obtaining scientific evidence to prove the structures of the triphenylene derivative and nanographene molecules,” says Yoshito Koga, a graduate student who mainly conducted the experiments. “Since no one in our group has ever handled triphenylenes and nanographenes before, I was conducting the research through a ‘trial and error’ manner. I was extremely excited when I first saw the mass spectrometry signal of the desired molecule to reveal the mass of the molecule through MALDI (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization), which indicated that we had actually succeeded in making nanographene in a controlled fashion.”

The team had already succeeded in synthesizing various triphenylene derivatives, such as molecules including 10 benzene rings, naphthalene (a fused pair of benzene rings), nitrogen atoms, and sulfur atoms. These unprecedented triphenylene derivatives could potentially be used in solar cells.

“The approach for creating functional molecules from simple benzene units will be applicable to the synthesis of not only nanographene, but also to various other nanocarbon materials,” says Murakami.

“Nanographenes are bound to be useful as future materials,” says Professor Kenichiro Itami, director of the JST-ERATO Itami Molecular Nanocarbon Project. “We hope that our discovery will lead to the acceleration of applied research and advance the field of nanographene science.”

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This article “Synthesis of partially and fully fused polyaromatics by annulative chlorophenylene dimerization” by Yoshito Koga, Takeshi Kaneda, Yutaro Saito, Kei Murakami and Kenichiro Itami is published online in Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9801

JST-ERATO Itami Molecular Nanocarbon Project

The JST-ERATO Itami Molecular Nanocarbon Project was launched at Nagoya University in April 2014. This is a 5-year project that seeks to open the new field of nanocarbon science. This project entails the design and synthesis of as-yet largely unexplored nanocarbons as structurally well-defined molecules, and the development of novel, highly functional materials based on these nanocarbons. Researchers combine chemical and physical methods to achieve the controlled synthesis of well-defined uniquely structured nanocarbon materials, and conduct interdisciplinary research encompassing the control of molecular arrangement and orientation, structural and functional analysis, and applications in devices and biology. The goal of this project is to design, synthesize, utilize, and understand nanocarbons as molecules.

About WPI-ITbM

The Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) at Nagoya University in Japan is committed to advance the integration of synthetic chemistry, plant/animal biology and theoretical science, all of which are traditionally strong fields in the university. ITbM is one of the research centers of the Japanese MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) program, the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI). The aim of ITbM is to develop transformative bio-molecules, innovative functional molecules capable of bringing about fundamental change to biological science and technology. Research at ITbM is carried out in a “Mix Lab” style, where international young researchers from various fields work together side-by-side in the same lab, enabling interdisciplinary interaction. Through these endeavors, ITbM will create “transformative bio-molecules” that will dramatically change the way of research in chemistry, biology and other related fields to solve urgent problems, such as environmental issues, food production and medical technology that have a significant impact on the society.

About JST-ERATO

ERATO (The Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology), one of the Strategic Basic Research Programs, aims to form a headstream of science and technology, and ultimately contribute to science, technology, and innovation that will change society and the economy in the future. In ERATO, a Research Director, a principal investigator of ERATO research project, establishes a new research base in Japan and recruits young researchers to implement his or her challenging research project within a limited time frame.

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“Nano-Wrinkles” (nano-structured surface coatings) would save Shipping and Aquaculture $$$$ Billions


nanowrinklesThe Nepenthes pitcher plant (left) and its nano-wrinkled ‘mouth’ (centre) inspired the engineered nanomaterial (right). Credit: Sydney Nano

A team of chemistry researchers from the University of Sydney Nano Institute has developed nanostructured surface coatings that have anti-fouling properties without using any toxic components.

Biofouling – the build-up of damaging biological material – is a huge economic issue, costing the aquaculture and shipping industries billions of dollars a year in maintenance and extra fuel usage. It is estimated that the increased drag on  due to biofouling costs the shipping industry in Australia $320 million a year a b.

Since the banning of the toxic anti-fouling agent tributyltin, the need for new non-toxic methods to stop marine biofouling has been pressing.

Leader of the research team, Associate Professor Chiara Neto, said: “We are keen to understand how these surfaces work and also push the boundaries of their application, especially for energy efficiency. Slippery coatings are expected to be drag-reducing, which means that objects, such as ships, could move through water with much less energy required.”

The new materials were tested tied to shark netting in Sydney’s Watson Bay, showing that the nanomaterials were efficient at resisting biofouling in a marine environment.

The research has been published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture
PhD candidate Sam Peppou Chapman in Watsons Bay, Sydney, next to the test samples of the nanomaterials attached to a shark net. Credit: University of Sydney Nano Institute

The new coating uses ‘nanowrinkles’ inspired by the carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plant. The plant traps a layer of water on the tiny structures around the rim of its opening. This creates a slippery layer causing insects to aquaplane on the , before they slip into the pitcher where they are digested.

Nanostructures utilise materials engineered at the scale of billionths of a metre – 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Associate Professor Neto’s group at Sydney Nano is developing nanoscale materials for future development in industry.

Biofouling can occur on any surface that is wet for a long period of time, for example aquaculture nets, marine sensors and cameras, and ship hulls. The slippery surface developed by the Neto group stops the initial adhesion of bacteria, inhibiting the formation of a biofilm from which larger marine fouling organisms can grow.

The interdisciplinary University of Sydney team included biofouling expert Professor Truis Smith-Palmer of St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, who was on sabbatical visit to the Neto group for a year, partially funded by the Faculty of Science scheme for visiting women.

In the lab, the slippery surfaces resisted almost all fouling from a common species of marine bacteria, while control Teflon samples without the lubricating layer were completely fouled. Not satisfied with testing the surfaces under highly controlled lab conditions with only one type of bacteria the team also tested the surfaces in the ocean, with the help of marine biologist Professor Ross Coleman.

Test surfaces were attached to swimming nets at Watsons Bay baths in Sydney Harbour for a period of seven weeks. In the much harsher marine environment, the slippery surfaces were still very efficient at resisting fouling.

The antifouling coatings are mouldable and transparent, making their application ideal for underwater cameras and sensors.

 Explore further: Researchers show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling

More information: Cameron S. Ware et al, Marine Antifouling Behavior of Lubricant-Infused Nanowrinkled Polymeric Surfaces, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b14736

 

Artificial photosynthesis could help make fuels, plastics and medicine


Artificial PS 0430 nmat2578-f1April 29, 2015

Source: American Chemical Society Summary: The global industrial sector accounts for more than half of the total energy used every year. Now scientists are inventing a new artificial photosynthetic system that could one day reduce industry’s dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy by powering part of the sector with solar energy and bacteria. The system converts light and carbon dioxide into building blocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and fuels — all without electricity.

The global industrial sector accounts for more than half of the total energy used every year. Now scientists are inventing a new artificial photosynthetic system that could one day reduce industry’s dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy by powering part of the sector with solar energy and bacteria. In the ACS journal Nano Letters, they describe a novel system that converts light and carbon dioxide into building blocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and fuels — all without electricity.

Peidong Yang, Michelle C. Y. Chang, Christopher J. Chang and colleagues note that plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to make their own fuel in the form of carbohydrates. Globally, this natural process harvests 130 Terawatts of solar energy. If scientists could figure out how to harness just a fraction of that amount to make fuels and power industrial processes, they could dramatically cut our reliance on fossil fuels. So, Yang, Michelle Chang and Christopher Chang’s teams wanted to contribute to these efforts.

 

APS Berkeley Nanowire Array 0430 150416132638_1_900x600

 

The groups developed a stand-alone, nanowire array that captures light and with the help of bacteria, converts carbon dioxide into acetate. The bacteria directly interact with light-absorbing materials, which the researchers say is the first example of “microbial photo-electrosynthesis.” Another kind of bacteria then transforms the acetate into chemical precursors that can be used to make a wide range of everyday products from antibiotics to paints.

The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.APS JCAP 0430 maxresdefault


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chong Liu, Joseph J. Gallagher, Kelsey K. Sakimoto, Eva M. Nichols, Christopher J. Chang, Michelle C. Y. Chang, Peidong Yang. Nanowire–Bacteria Hybrids for Unassisted Solar Carbon Dioxide Fixation to Value-Added Chemicals. Nano Letters, 2015; 150407103432009 DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01254

Nanotechnology BBC Documentary Nano, the Next Dimension


carbon-nanotubeA BBC documentary on nanotechnology advances in Europe “Nano, The Next Dimension”

 

 

 

 

A very good video to provide “perspective” on how “All Things Nano” have ALREADY impacted our lives and how … the VAST (but tiny!) arena of “Nanotechnologies” (Nano: objects a billionth of a meter in size) will certainly impact ALL of the Sciences, Manufacturing, Communications and Consumer Materials. Impacts such as:

1.  Our abilities to capture and generate abundant renewable sources of energy, (Solar, Hydrogen Fuel Cells)

2. To create abundant sources of CLEAN WATER through vastly improved FILTRATION and WASTE REMEDIATION processes. (Desalination, Oil and Gas Fields)

3. To deliver LIFE SAVING Drug Therapies and provide vastly improved Diagnostics. (Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer’s)

4. To create FLEXIBLE SCREENS and PRINTABLE ELECTRONICS that offer vastly improved performance, user experience, with lower energy consumption and with significantly LOWER COSTS. (Flat Panel TV Screens, Smart Phones, Super-Computers, Super-Capacitors, Long-Lived Super Batteries)

5. Completely water, stain proof clothing. Lighter, Stronger Sports Equipment.

6. Coatings and Paints for Buildings, Windows and Highways that capture solar energy. Inks and Sensors that make our everyday life more Secure.

Through the month of January, we will be posting videos, articles and research summaries that focus on the coming accelerated “wave” of nano-supported technologies “that will change the way we innovate everything!”

“Great Things from Small Things!”

 

Genesis Nanotechnology: http://genesisnanotech.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GenesisNanoTech   (@Genesisnanotech)

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10 Ways Nanomanufacturing Will Alter Industry


By Robert Lamb

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Do you remember your childhood building blocks? You probably started out with large, wooden cubes and turned to increasingly smaller blocks as you grew older and the structures you created became more complex. That miniature version of the space shuttle wouldn’t have been nearly as accurate (or cool) with big bricks, right?

The building blocks get even smaller in the real world — so much so that even an optical microscope won’t reveal them. They exist at the nanoscale of things, where a single-walled carbon nanotube is scarcely 1 nanometer thick. To put that in relatable terms, you’d have to line up 100,000 of these nanotubes side by side in order to equal the 100-micrometer diameter of a single strand of hair .

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Nanomaterials occur naturally all around us, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that scientists developed the tools to see and manipulate such minuscule building blocks as individual molecules and atoms. By directing matter at the nanoscale, scientists achieve greater control over a material’s properties, ranging from its strength and melting point to its fluorescence and electrical conductivity. We call this field nanotechnology, and it involves such diverse disciplines as chemistry, biology and physics.

Currently, more than 800 commercial products rely on nanomaterials, according to the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. To capitalize on nanotechnology, however, we need to mass-produce at the nanoscale. So we enter the world of nanomanufacturing. Here are 10 ways it will change the landscape of industry forever.

10. Rise of the Super Drugs

Nanotechnology allows us to mess with matter molecularly, which is great news for the pharmaceutical industry. After all, every profitable brand-name medication ultimately breaks down to a particular, and often synthetic, molecular structure. This structure interacts with molecules in the human body, and that’s where the profitable magic happens.

Just consider the botulinum toxin in Botox treatments. The bacteria’s muscle-weakening abilities aid in the treatment of muscle pain, in addition to smoothing wrinkles. Doctors typically inject Botox into the target tissue since it can’t pass through the skin. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Nanomanufacturing Center, however, aim to create a topical Botox cream. Their secret? Simply attach the toxin to a nanoparticle, allowing it to hitch a ride through the skin.

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Meanwhile, other drugs suffer from poor solubility, resulting in inadequate or delayed absorption into the human body and, consequently, a need for greater dosage levels. Yet if we reduce the size of the drug particles to the nanoscale, then absorption rates increase and dosage levels decrease.

Finally, nanotechnology enables scientists to knit together tiny drug fragments into single “super-molecules” — such as the proposed morphine-cannabis painkiller. Envisioned by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, this pharmaceutical tag team would consist of a morphine molecule and a THC molecule (THC being the intoxicating part of marijuana) joined by a single linking particle. Once in the body, the linking bit would break free, releasing the morphine and THC in equal, targeted doses.

Mass production at the nanoscale will enable pharmaceutical companies to create increasingly effective medication.

9. Drug Delivery Goes Nano

Nanomanufacturing will change far more than the medications we take; it also will alter the nature of drug delivery. Researchers at Northwestern University are developing drug devices made from nano-diamonds, which prevent medicine from releasing too swiftly into the body. With this technology, doctors will be able to implant months’ worth of medication directly into the affected tissue area.

But nano-manufacturing will provide far more than mere convenience — it will save lives. Just consider today’s anticancer drugs. Chemotherapy treatments often damage healthy cells as well as cancerous ones, leading to the full array of side effects typically associated with cancer treatments. By studying the inner workings of cell-seeking viruses, scientists hope to engineer nanostructures capable of delivering medication directly to targeted tissue.

Both of these nanoscale biomedical technologies enable smarter and minimally invasive treatment. Just imagine a day when chemotherapy doesn’t wipe out the entire body and when implanted nanostructures administer your daily medication for you.

8. Fresh-grown Organs All Around

Modern organ transplant technology continues to save lives, but emerging biomedical nanotechnology aims to streamline the process. In some cases, it even eliminates the need for an organ donor. Why worry about harvesting a new heart from a fresh cadaver when we can grow a new one instead?

By using a patient’s own stem cells, researchers have successfully grown human bladders and even hearts. In 2011, doctors made history by transplanting a bio-artificial trachea into a cancer patient . The key is to have accurate, organ-shaped scaffolding for the cells to grow on — such as a collagen “ghost heart” (a donor heart stripped of its cells) or a glass replica of the patient’s trachea.

Nanotechnology introduces even more exciting possibilities here, such as the use of nano-engineered gel to help nerve cells re-grow around spinal injuries. As for growing new organs wholesale, the future is also bright. Researchers at Rice University and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, have developed an organ sculpting technique that employs metal nanoparticles suspended in a magnetic field. This 3-D environment encourages the suspended cells to grow more naturally and may enable the development of complex, 3-D systems such as the heart or lung.

In the future, researchers hope to program detailed magnetic fields tailored to specific organs. So imagine a future where human organs aren’t merely harvested but custom-manufactured to fit the patient.

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7. The World’s Smallest Laboratory

State-of-the-art medical diagnostic technology helps physicians save countless lives. There’s one catch: Much of this equipment requires a modern laboratory and a highly trained staff to operate it. Take this sort of diagnostic tool out of an air-conditioned, sterile and electrically stable environment and transport it to a distant outpost in the developing world, and guess what happens?

 

That’s right: The technology fails to function. Luckily, nanotechnology comes to the rescue with so-called lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technology. Such nanodevices would boast high-tech laboratory functions on a single, tiny chip capable of processing extremely small fluid volumes. Through lasers and electrical fields, scientists hope to manipulate these fluids and tiny particles of bacteria, viruses and DNA for analysis. The possible applications range from swift blood analysis during the initial outbreak of an epidemic to improved food safety screenings.

It all comes down to nano-manufacturing, however, as such technology would only provide a significant advantage if cheap and plentiful. A single application of a disease vaccine, after all, won’t fight off an epidemic. You need doses for multiple patients in several locations. Likewise, an LOC-enabled health scanner would only make a difference if it were standard issue in the field.

6. Honey, the Walls Are Bleeding Again

Even the most devoted horror movie fan would probably shy away from a house that oozes blood whenever you scratch the wall or suffer a mild earthquake. Yet this is exactly the sort of reality nanotechnology can bring into the world. And if nano-manufacturing makes the fruits of this technology available globally, then you may very well spend your retirement years in a bleeding house of your own.

In this case, however, bleeding walls are a good thing. Just as blood from a cut clots into a sealing scab, proposed nano-polymer particles in a house’s walls will liquefy when squeezed by an earthquake or structural collapse. This liquid will then flow into any cracks and transform back to a solid state.

The University of Leeds’ Nano-Manufacturing Institute plans to build a prototype on a Greek mountainside — with an estimated price tag of $15 million . The technology is too costly and too “bleeding-edge” (get it?) to make an impact on the construction industry just yet, but nano-manufacturing techniques could allow buildings around the world to benefit from this amazing self-healing technology.

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5. Super-strong Materials

When it comes to nanotechnology, there’s no denying the abundant applications for carbon nanotubes, or carbon sealed up into cylindrical tubes. Materials forged from these tubes are both lightweight and incredibly strong, since the carbon atoms in each tube are so tightly bonded.

The applications are endless. Virtually any synthetic structure could be made lighter and more durable. In addition to improving existing structures, carbon nanotubes could make impossible structures a reality. Just consider the premise of a space elevator: a direct, physical connection between the surface of the Earth and a satellite tethered in geosynchronous orbit. Such a structure would enable humans to transport large payloads into space without explosive rocketry and costly heavy-lift vehicles.

Operating space elevators would be a game changer for not only the space exploration industry but also the energy industry. Imagine an orbital solar collector that wires energy right back down to the planet’s surface. Although the necessary carbon nanotube technology is already within grasp, the ability to cheaply mass-produce the material would move such a massive project even closer to reality .

4. Will Nano-bots Clean Up the Mess?

Nanomanufacturing will revolutionize the oil industry, enabling stronger pipelines and more effective pollution detectors as well. Plus, in the event of an oil spill or leak, tiny nanobots might just come to the rescue, “feeding” on oil as part of the cleanup effort.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are currently working on a pack of autonomous, solar-powered robots called the Seaswarm. While this 16-foot (5-meter) long technology is hardly nano in scale, it does implement nanotechnology. Each Seaswarm, which already exists in prototype form, will use a conveyor belt lined with oil-absorbing nanowire fabric. The unique, hydrophobic, meshed structure of the fabric grabs the oil molecules but not the water molecules. These properties allow the fabric to absorb a reported 20 times its weight in oil, which can then be released when the fabric is heated .

How much difference will the mass-production of such nanotechnology make in the event of an oil spill? A swarm of oil-absorbing robots potentially could clean up a disaster involving millions of barrels worth of fossil fuels within a single month .

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3. Tiny Oil Hunters

Speaking of oil, if you want to send a robot into an oil reservoir, you’re going to have to think small — nanorobotics small. After all, fossil fuel deposits don’t occur in large, spacious underground caverns but in the pores of solid rock. The oil travels through tiny pore throats that are tinier than the average germ . So, if you want to build a robot petite enough to explore an oil reservoir, you’ll need to design it at the nanoscale.

Scientists and oil companies envision a day when trillions of minuscule, water-soluble carbon clusters can be injected deep underground and then pulled back to the surface. Geologists would then be able to note changes in the chemical makeup of the carbon clusters to decipher such details as temperature and pressure in the oil reserve. Other, more advanced plans even call for nano-robots capable of transmitting their findings back to the surface.

2. Nano-empowered Batteries and Solar Panels

Whether facing the battery death of a beloved smartphone or the limitations of solar technology, nano-manufacturing will eventually solve your problem. Not only will nanotechnology enable the production of longer-lasting batteries and more efficient solar sails, it will also do it cheaply.

The limitations of both batteries and solar panels tend to boil down to the materials used in the electrode portion of a battery. This material is the conductor through which an electric current enters or leaves a solution in a battery. Typical electrode materials can only transmit a limited electrical charge. Nanotechnology, however, gives scientists the ability to enlarge the surface area of the electrode material at the nanoscale without increasing the material size. The trick is to boost the complexity of the material at the nanoscale.

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For example, imagine two blocks of cheese of equal size: one solid cheddar and the other Swiss cheese riddled with pores and holes. Due to the interior walls of the holes, the Swiss cheese benefits from greater surface area than the solid cheddar.

Scientists have drawn inspiration for such technology from marine sponges, which assemble their complex, crystalline structures at the molecular level. And it’s that sort of assembly that factors into the last item on our list.

1. Some Self-assembly Required

All of these nano-manufacturing and nanotechnology advancements will undoubtedly change the face of industry forever, but the biggest game changer of them all will come in the form of self-assembly. The smaller the building blocks become, the closer we get to the molecular-scale building techniques of nature itself.

Earlier applications of nanotechnology implemented a top-down approach, in which scientists use instruments such as the atomic force microscope to manipulate matter at the nanoscale. The bottom-up approach, however, actually builds at the molecular level. The difference between the two approaches is not unlike that between Victor Frankenstein’s stitching together body parts to make a new human and nature simply growing one up from genetic material.

In the future, nano-manufacturing will take place entirely at a scale invisible to the naked eye, as nano-bots construct everything from delicate fabrics and super-strong steel to computing components.

 

The future of industry all comes down to the size and complexity of the building blocks.