We keep hearing about nanotechnology and its vastly increasing applications areas. The areas of nanotechnology applications are vast and interdisciplinary, from medicine and health care to construction and consumer electronics.
For the viability of nanotechnology, commercialization of products and applications using nanotechnology is essential. Electronics industry is the strongest driver of nanotech commercialization. The future of the semiconductor industry is dependent upon innovation in nanoscale in many ways. The data storage density and processor speed are being constantly improved by their further miniaturization. Researchers are exploring the options beyond silicon, exploring the use of individual single-walled carbon nanotubes as transistors. In coming time, the use of quantum computing may solve complex problems, which can't be solved even by using the most powerful supercomputers. Apart from the data storage and processor speed another areas for applications of nanotechnology are display, networking, sensors, RFID, and consumer electronics.
Now it is extensively being used in consumer appliances, especially in consumer electronics. The use of nanotechnology in consumer products can directly affect and benefit people. Its advantages and drawbacks will be recognized by the majority of people in the world and thus can be more viable and useful. Here we are going to discuss a few among the numerous products available on the market that are the result of nanotechnology.
The advancement of technologies has helped increasing the size of memory. Now we can have tens of gigabytes of space in a very small storage device. The MP3 players we use today use either a flash memory or a mini hard disk for storing data. Flash memory is a large non-volatile storage device like an EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory) based on the common CMOS manufacturing technique. This storage technology is rapidly replacing its magnetic predecessor by rising in capacity while diminishing the dimensions of its transistors.
LED is another area where in the application of nanotechnology has improved its utilization and efficiency. LED has replaced the incandescent bulbs completely from a number of application areas, such as flash lights. White LEDs are efficient compared to others as they tend to generate light in well defined regions. These regions are called quantum wells. They are manufactured with “atomic” precision and with thicknesses of about 10 nm.
The cooling equipment like refrigerators and air conditioning have also been benefited by the nanotechnology revolutions. Silver has been used for antimicrobial purposes in several products. It has helped check the growth of microbes and ensure a healthy and hygienic environment. Now silver is also used in filters for washing machines.
The hard disks have been able to store such gigantic amount of data due to the use of Giant Magneto Resistance (GMR) effect. It is a quantum mechanical effect. The use of this technology enabled to store well above 100 gigabits per square inch. In current hard disks, the magnetic domains are oriented in-plane, while those of the next generation will stand upright. For reading densely stored data, more sensitive and efficient read-and-write heads are required. It can be achieved through the even more sophisticated Tunneling Magneto Resistance (TMR) effect.
Nanotechnology has got excellent promise in electronic
applications. The consumer electronic products have just started
exploiting the potential of nanotechnology. The main focus is to find
a way to make nano-electronics feasible for consumer electronics.
Most of the companies have already introduced nanotechnology in other
consumer products as well such as cosmetics, food and clothing.