The most underrated nanotechnologies

The world of nanotechnology is vast. Practically every industry and application will use nanotechnology in one form or another. Because nanotechnology is the study of the nanoscale environment, and everything involves some basic reaction or interaction at the nanoscale, everything utilises nanotechnology at some point.

Given that fact, it is obvious that some technologies will slip through the cracks and not be as well-known as others – even if the benefits of using them are great. It is not only the hyped-up technologies and the materials of fame that are of great use to the nanotechnology community.

We now look at a couple of techniques in the nanotechnology space which are not as well documented as they should be.

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

There are many well-known and well-used coating methods around today. Many people use spin coating, sputtering and powder coating to coat electronics, structural materials, and so forth. However, not many people know about atomic layer deposition, otherwise known as ALD.

ALD is a similar technique to chemical vapour deposition (CVD), but gaseous atoms can be used to coat a surface. The great thing about ALD is its versatility. ALD can create nano-precise coatings from many elements and the coatings become bonded to the surface. Its versatility even extends to coating of nanoparticles.

Compared to many other coating methods, ALD can conform to practically any geometry and even be used to coat multiple layers. It begs the question, why are more people not using this technology over traditional coating methods. Some people have cottoned on to this technique and it is used to protect components in the semiconductor industry, but it is not currently used as much as it could be.

Cavitation Technology

This is a family of technologies. You may be familiar with ultrasound being used to image a baby, but ultrasound and other cavitation technologies can be used in many applications. Cavitation’s are high energy voids that are introduced by an instrument, such as a sonication probe or a laser, and then implode creating a high-speed jet within a liquid. 

Cavitation’s are used in processing plants, the food industry and biomedical research, but it rarely extends to the core of nanotechnology. Cavitation’s can introduce templated binding sites once the void has imploded and can provide high shearing and milling capabilities by directing the cavitation energy.

Whilst there are many ultrasonic probes on the market that can produce acoustic cavitation’s, there are a small number companies who are really pushing the boat out with innovative cavitation technologies, especially for the nanotechnology industry. The applications of cavitation technologies may be more niche in the nanotechnology space, but cavitation voids have been proven to speed up chemical reactions, which is a bonus for some reactions that take place in the nanotechnology space.

In short, there are many technologies out in the nanotechnology space that aren’t as well documented as graphene, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. Whilst these are only a couple of examples, many areas of nanotechnology require more credit than they currently get.

 

If you would like more information on companies at the forefront of ALD or Cavitation technology, you should get in touch with The World Nano Foundation - Email contact: andrea.crawley@worldnanofoundation.com 

Arnold Kristoff