Lahore School of Economics Behrawar Khan (08u0065) Section D

The pros and cons of nanotechnology, as seen from the eyes of the critics and the acclaimers. Putting the technology on the stand and analyzing the use it has in science and medicine and also the impacts it might have on the environment and society as a whole.

Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience Table of contents Introduction The Pros and Cons What does the future hold? Conclusion Bibliography 2 4 9 11 1 .

This threat as the scientist put it. self reproducing and learning from experience which is programmed to eat and consume everything and anything in its path. Tiny robots escaping from a laboratory after an experiment going wrong. So far. Nanotechnology devices could perhaps be one day be programmed to selectively target a group of people with certain genes etc. However. nanotechnology has become a part of the folklore and science fiction novels. but today¶s risks are qualitatively different from those that came in earlier times.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience Introduction In the modern day literature. enthusiasts for nanotechnology are investigating whether it could be used to improve the delivery of cancer fighting drugs or whether nanoscale carbon could be used to increase the speed and power of computer circuits. scientific and technological change increasingly presents us with different risks. then it would seem that the negative risks of further development in nanotechnology would far outweigh the positives. more slippery ski wax and super strong carbon fiber car parts. Humans have always had to face risks of one kind or another. they can spread like pollen and consume the world in a matter of days. Discussions of nanotechnology and other innovations in science and technology raise important questions for sociologists. Science fictions writers have some scientists worried that if the technology could be made for nanoparticles to self-replicate. the introduction and use of nanotechnology has been modest. leaking tiny robots each smaller than most grains of dust. being currently used. good and in between. But nanotechnology is an exciting new area in science and technology. portraying it like a big beast which is unstoppable. human 2 . Some critics have worried about the implications and unforeseen dangers of this technology.bad. is the µgrey goo problem¶. A cloud of deadly nanoparticles which are self sustaining. perhaps accumulating in the lings like crystals. causing damage to the body. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. from grey goo to unlimited and safe energy. for example more transparent skin creams. If these disasters were likely. Until quite recently. As we have seen above. and a broad definition of nanotechnology involves anything that can be produced with dimensions less than 100 nanometers. Others worry that this form of technology can fall into the wrong hands and can be used for military purposes. Another concern about the small size of the nanoparticles is that it could be breathed in. The work of science fiction has certainly handicapped the reputation of this invention.

3 . risks that are created by the impact of our own knowledge and technology on the natural world. famine and storms which are from the natural world and are not realted to the activities of humans. many health and environmental risks facing contemporary societies are instances of manufactured risks. As we shall see.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience societies were threatened by external risk. dangerous such as drought. earth quakes. realted to this form of risk and to what extent is it necessary to understand the outcomes before we unleash the hidden +secrets of this µPhilosophers stone¶. We will look at how nanotechnology is. Today. if it is. they are the outcomes of our own interventions into nature. however we are faced with manufactured risks.

When voltage is applied to the system. which should be cheap. A solution to the global energy crisis requires revolutionary new technology. transfer. Inc. and figures from legitimate sources. White LEDs consist of semi-conducting organic layers that are only about 100 nanometers in distance from each other and are placed between two electrodes. a product developed by the Dais Analytic Corporation. Creating devices smaller than 100 nanometers opens many doors for the development of new ways to capture. from medicine to industry and from energy to social impact of introducing this technology. and environmentally sound. Recently. The Polymer membranes can be designed to selectively allow particles of one size and shape to pass through while preventing others of different dimensions. we shall examine them based on facts. LEDs have been around for decades. and a cathode. inexpensive. has been developing a consumer product that utilizes LED technology to generate light. Inc. A New York based company called Applied NanoWorks. Nanofabrication is the process of designing and creating devices on the nanoscale. This is called 4 . whether be it good or bad. we shall look at all the arguments presented by scientist. which create an anode. previously established and entirely new companies such as BetaBatt. and Oxane Materials are focusing on nonmaterial as a way to develop and improve upon older methods for the capture. and storage of energy for the development of consumer products. uses nanoscale polymer membranes to increase the efficiency of heating and cooling systems and has already proven to be a lucrative design. and transfer energy.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience The Pros and Cons In this section of the article. light is generated when electricity passes through the two organic layers. The inherent level of control that nanofabrication could give scientists and engineers would be critical in providing the capability of solving many of the problems that the world is facing today related to the current generation of energy technologies. ConsERV. this company and others like it have been developing a special variant of LED called the white LED. store. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology open up the possibility of moving beyond our current alternatives for energy supply by introducing technologies that are more efficient. An important subfield of nanotechnology related to energy is nanofabrication. environmentally friendly and both light and strong compared to the current technology. We shall go in a chronological order of the role of Nanoscience in different fields of the world.

cholesterol monitors. The cancer killing device suggested here could incorporate a dozen different binding sites and so could monitor the concentrations of a dozen different types of molecules. ventilation.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience electroluminescence. several binding sites to determine the concentration of specific molecules. The device would have a small computer. M-Phase Technologies in conglomeration with Rutgers University and Bell Laboratories have utilized nonmaterial to alter the wetting behavior of the surface where the liquid in the battery lies to spread the liquid droplets over a greater area on the surface and therefore have greater control over the movement of the droplets.001 cubic microns. and air conditioning. and would periodically sample its environment by determining whether the binding sites were or were not occupied. Occupancy statistics would allow determination of concentration. changing molecular structure for better management of temperature In the fields of medicine. and a supply of some poison which could be selectively released and was able to kill a cell identified as cancerous. The semiconductor properties of the organic layers are what allow for the minimal amount of energy necessary to generate light. These devices could act like blood pressure monitors. By contrast. we could design a small device able to identify and kill cancer cells. This gives more control to the designer of the battery. Device of that small size range could easily fit in the circulatory system and would even be able to enter individual cells. Small computers which could be fitted in that size could be life savers. and have not proven effective against most cancers. and early warning system about any potential infection or diseases and even transmit that information directly to their doctors and specialist in the respective fields. the nanometers can allow to shrink their medical devices down to less than a 0. The device would circulate freely throughout the body. Given such molecular tools. a single red blood cell is about 8 microns in diameter (over 80 times larger in linear dimensions than our 100 nanometer processor). Thermal applications also are future applications of nanotechnology creating low cost system of heating. This control prevents reactions in the battery by separating the electrolytic liquid from the anode and the cathode when the battery is not in use and joining them when the battery is in need of use. Today's monoclonal antibodies are able to bind to only a single type of protein or other antigen. Research for longer lasting batteries has been an ongoing process for years. The computer could 5 . Researchers have now begun to utilize nanotechnology for battery technology.

safer. nanotechnology also offers scratch resistant surface coatings based on nanocomposites.and stain-repellent or wrinkle-free. cheaper. Spacecraft will also benefit. Lighter and stronger materials will be of immense use to aircraft manufacturers. release the poison. Much like aerospace. Nanoceramic particles have improved the smoothness and heat resistance of common household equipment such as the flat iron. through embedded ³wearable electronics´. Already in use are different nanoparticles improved products. Many other applications have been developed by research institutions such as the Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at Cornell University. For optics. providing products with novel functions ranging from easy-to-clean to scratch-resistant. The most prominent application of nanotechnology in the household is self-cleaning or ³easy-to-clean´ surfaces on ceramics or glasses. leading to increased performance. Automation of nanotechnology construction can allow for the creation of structures from advanced homes to massive skyscrapers much more quickly and at much lower cost. An inevitable use of nanotechnology will be in heavy industry. Nanotechnology has been used to integrate tiny carbon particles membrane and guarantee full-surface protection from electrostatic charges for the wearer. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. Combustion engines will also benefit from parts that are more hard-wearing and more heat-resistant. where weight is a major factor. Nanotechnology has the potential to make construction faster. The traditional chemical UV protection approach suffers from its poor long-term stability. and more varied. in the mid-term clothes will become ³smart´. lighter and stronger materials will be useful for creating vehicles that are both faster and safer. The first sunglasses using protective and anti-reflective ultrathin polymer coatings are on the market. Nano-optics could allow for an increase in precision of pupil repair and other types of laser eye surgery.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience determine if the profile of concentrations fit a pre-programmed "cancerous" profile and would. Nanotechnology would help to reduce the size of equipment and thereby decrease fuel-consumption required to get it airborne. One field of application is in sunscreens. A sunscreen based on mineral nanoparticles such as titanium dioxide offer several advantages. Titanium oxide nanoparticles have a comparable UV protection 6 . Especially in the field of cosmetics. The use of engineered nanofibers already makes clothes water. such novel products have a promising potential. Modern textiles are wrinkle-resistant and stain-repellent. when a cancerous profile was encountered. Nanotechnology is already impacting the field of consumer goods.

and disposal. including their fabrication. At the same time in the developing world the population will double. due to their needle-like fiber shape. In other words. It can float in the air and might easily penetrate animal and plant cells causing unknown effects. The kinds of nanotech-inspired wonders alluded to throughout this report may only be feasible for the 8. The impact on humans or the environment may vary at different stages of the life cycle. shape and surface reactivity with the surrounding tissue. In a recent study that introduced carbon nanotubes into the abdominal cavity of mice. To properly assess the health hazards of engineered nanoparticles the whole life cycle of these particles needs to be evaluated. Most human-made nanoparticles do not appear in nature. The behavior of nanoparticles is a function of their size. This kind of waste may be very dangerous because of its size. and the upper layer of society in the developing and nondeveloping world. but lose the cosmetically undesirable whitening as the particle size is decreased. raising concerns that exposure to carbon nanotubes may lead to mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos).7% of today¶s population to 8. not for the rural poor and the underside of all urban populations. results demonstrated that long thin carbon nanotubes showed the same effects as long thin asbestos fibers. The extremely small size of nonmaterial also means that they are much more readily taken up by the human body than larger sized particles.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience property as the bulk material. the Western industrial democracies will shrink from 12. so living organisms may not have appropriate means to deal with nanowaste.6% of the 2025 population who live in Western industrial democracies. The same property of the selective nature of the porous membranes used in heating could be used as biological weapons or chemical warfare. Although the energy applications of this technology is promising but technology is a double edge sword. application and potential abuse. A quick glance at demographics provides some insight into what such a post-nano world might look like. Nanopollution is a generic name for all waste generated by nanodevices or during the nonmaterial manufacturing process.6% by 2025. How these nanoparticles behave inside the body is one of the issues that need to be resolved. µthe differences in the quality of life will be even starker than today between these two 7 . storage and distribution. According to the World Bank. Carbon nanotubes ± characterized by their microscopic size and incredible tensile strength ± are frequently likened to asbestos.

If one side has such weapons and the other doesn¶t. The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports these sentiments: µThose who participate in the nano revolution stand to become very wealthy. Zyvex (2002) sketch out the underlying rationale for such an occurrence.¶ (Roco and Bainbridge. Such developments hint at the worrying possibility of a nanotechnology arms race. the outcome will be swift and very lopsided. µIt is clear that offensive weapons made using advanced nanotechnology can only be stopped by defensive systems made using advanced nanotechnology as well. we will need much further research into defensive systems as this technology becomes more mature.¶ Gsponer (2002). Howard (2002) concedes that µonce the basic technology is available. One near-term example will be in medical care. it would not be difficult to adapt it as an instrument of war or terror. on the other hand. draws attention to the existing potential of nanotechnology to affect dangerous and destabilising µrefinements¶ of existing nuclear weapons designs . Indeed. Those who do not may find it increasingly difficult to afford the technological wonders that it engenders.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience worlds¶. as nanotech-based treatments may be initially expensive and hence only accessible to the very rich. The potentially catastrophic but long-term danger that the deliberate misuse of nanotechnology for military aggression poses has already been sketched out.¶ 8 . Clearly.such fourth generation nuclear weapons are new types of explosives that can be developed in full compliance with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This is just a specific instance of the general rule that technological superiority plays an important and often critical role in determining the victor in battle. 2001).

as graphite and diamond. brittle and conducting property. hard. shinny insulating and transparent properties. the arrangement of the carbon atoms in diamond are closely pact and that¶s why it gives a very strong. The breakthrough it will have in medicine and sciences are mythical but they are attainable. but one cannot ignore the negative more deadly effects of these invisible particles. In the end it all comes down to the governments. Imaging a world that is run by microscopic artificial intelligence is really big pill to swallow but if we examine the current IT industry. We have already seen Nanoscience being used for a thousand of years. that day isn¶t far away when we might have doors fitted with nanoparticles (when a small current is passed through them they become see through) in every home. but the topic is a simple concept. but the possibility of producing a pacemaker which could be as light as a feather. We do not necessarily need to swallow microchips. and yes it is not a joke but it may not have been known as Nanoscience but alchemy. The process for turning sand into glass is a process changing sand particles to a see through silicon based glass. strong as steel and the 9 . the speed with which µmicrochips¶ are giving way to the µnanochips¶.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience What does the future hold? Although the applications of the Nanoscience are countless and the advantages of it are unlimited. but the economic drift between the rich and the poor and the developed and the undeveloped nations would become bigger. Both are a form of carbon but the difference they have at the nano level. the experts and the potential consumer of this technology. we find that it s strong and lighter than steel. as some critics put it. If this technology is incorporated in the present world the economic and social benefits are utopian in nature. And graphite the atoms are loosely packed thus giving it an opaque. Magnifying that into the macro level. The process is at the nano level. We have seen this form of transformation being there in nature. where the silicon is heated that they fuse together to form a single see through sheet. The usage of the technology is dependent on the intentions behind obtaining it. The future of the technology is in the hands of the regulators and the users. Just like the atomic bomb and the jet engine. We have the example of Carbon fiber which is sheets of carbon manipulated at the nano level to be tightly knitted together. changing the physical properties of a matter at that level can give u different results in terms of its physical and chemical properties. Making up matter from the atomic level. Nanotechnology doesn t really mean microscopic robots or microscopic computers.

A perfect heart. now who wouldn t want one of those? 10 . with minimal wear and tear and a self sustaining heart.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience capacity to generate electricity to run forever.

the good bad and the ugly. With every new invention many ethical questions are raised like we must understand that there more people on this earth who are unable to purchase tuberculosis tablets and jumping onto a more expensive cure with the help of nanotechnology can jeopardize not only human life but also humanity as a whole. because advancement in technology is not growth. We have seen the applications of what the future holds for such type of innovative development. 11 . This technology should be given a chance after a thorough research is done. The promises this science makes are without a doubt magnificent in nature but if history is a lesson we must learn from. is a farfetched idea. I believe that this technology can solves most of our problems. but I wouldn¶t want to get dependant on such type of technology and neither should the public. but one cannot ignore that a great heat wave swallowing the earth and melting ice caps and making the planet steam roll to its boiling point (global warming) is a consequence of our human activities. Although the portrayal of tiny robots swarming the earth and devouring everything in its path. we must understand that this technology carries risk which could be dire in nature. but on its risks and its side effects in the environment and the society. ³the grey goo problem¶. Just like a an advocate of nuclear energy being a source of unlimited power. after comparing a number of articles written since the first concept of nanotechnology was introduced. not on its benefits.Lahore School of Economics The implications and applications of Nanoscience Conclusion In the end.

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