Developing Nano-structured Materials
Nanotechnology's current state enables the manufacturing of nano-structured materials and the tailoring of their properties. The development of more complex nanomechanic devices (nanorobots, nanocircuits, etc.) is still in an infant stage.
These powders consist of particles of a few tens to a few hundreds of nanometers in size. Due to the large surface area to volume ratio, these materials present new enhanced properties when compared to their bulk properties. The use of nanopowders can create novel materials such as plastics with resistance to UV light, synthetic bone, more effective drugs, and catalysts.
Nanotubes are hollow cylinders whose walls consist of single or multi-layered sheets of atoms. Their diameter is in the range of a few nanometres. The first discovered nanotubes consisted of carbon atoms (carbon nanotubes), but soon other element nanotubes were developed as well.
These structures are very popular in the current nanotechnology market. They are used to build extremely strong and light materials with a variety of applications such as vehicle manufacturing. Other uses may involve future nanocircuits, mechanical gears for nanomachines, etc. Another future application may be the employment of carbon nanotubes in flat panel display screens.
Nanowires are cylindrical structures with a diameter of a few nanometers. The difference between nanotubes and nanowires is that the latter are not hollow. They are thought to be suitable for the construction of electronic devices and chips.
A nano-structured membrane has the ability to filter molecules of liquids or gases. In nature, the cell membranes allow molecules to penetrate them and contribute to the formation of chemical compounds. The tailoring of these nanomembranes can result in the selective filtering of specific sized molecules.