Nanotechnology Essay

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Current News and Event Topic: Nanotechnology and Social Impact Date: March 2014 Source: Dr. Christophe Lauterwasser with Allianz Center for Technology Summary: Nanotechnology, or the capacity to manipulate matter at the atomic (or nanometric) scale, promises such potential that important challenges and impacts are now foreseen, both positive and negative. Examples include possibilities to contribute to the production of clean energy, to water purification, and to important medical advances; specific IP and legal questions posed by the sector; the possibility of risks to health and the environment; as well as societal and ethical aspects. The establishment of nanotechnology across commercial markets, technology sectors, and policy arenas has been accompanied by the spread of nanotechnology-related activities in many countries, far beyond the institutional and cultural context from which it originated. Discussion/Comments: The term nanotechnology describes a range of technologies performed on a nanometer scale with widespread applications and production of physical, chemical, biological, medical products. The carbon nanotubes revolutionalized the TV industry in the last few decades. Other examples of nanotechnology applications include: * Nanobiotechnological cancer therapy. * Clothing that is able to rid itself of dirt, pollutants and micro-organisms is likely to affect the entire laundry industry * Low-cost photovoltaic films and sprays for buildings, cars, bridges etc. * Nanotechnology used in the production and transport of food products, cosmetics, chemicals, major appliances, toys, TV meals etc… Social /Environmental Impact Nanoparticles are potential hazards when combustible materials are dispersed in the air, forming a flammable cloud.

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