11th October, 2019
Nanotechnology is being used in various fields. Nano is a Greek word, which literally means micro or small. Every particle whose size is 100 nanometers or smaller is considered as a nanoparticle. The precision of a nanoparticle can be gauged by the fact that the diameter of a human hair is 60 thousand nanometers. The term nanotechnology was first used in the year 1974 by Norio Taniguchi. It is the engineering of molecules and atoms, which combines subjects such as physics, chemistry, bio-information, and biotechnology science.
Various nanoparticles are being produced with the changes in nature continuously since the beginning of life on Earth. The chemical and physical characteristics of nanoparticles are changed due to the extremely microscopic shape. For example, they become transparent when zinc metal nanoparticles are formed. Nanoparticles are in use from consumer products to medical devices, cosmetics, chemicals, electronics and optics, environment, food and packaging, fuels, energy, textiles and paints, new generation medicines and plastics, etc.
Use is also being done in agriculture-
Indian researchers have developed high-performance nanocomposite materials made of rubber, which can be used to strengthen the inner tubes of tires and inner liners. Nanoparticles are being used in agriculture in nano-fertilizers, nano pesticides/weeds, storage, preservation, product quality improvement, and flavor, etc. Nanoparticles have affected not only crop growth but also agriculturally useful microorganisms.
There are two types of nanoparticles-
Nanoparticles can be broadly divided into organic and inorganic materials. Inorganic nanoparticle metals (silver, aluminum, tin, gold, cobalt, copper, iron, molybdenum, nickel, titanium) and their metal-oxides are being heavily used. The same, zinc oxide nanoparticles are used in cosmetics. Glass of gold or nanoparticles can easily clean tall buildings or car glasses. Copper nanoparticles are being used in medicine as fungi and bactericides. They have the ability to destroy bacteria and fungi.
Increased health concerns-
Some challenges are also emerging with the use of nanoparticles. Concerns about the environment and human health are also increasing due to the continuous increase in the production and use of metallic nanoparticles. Experts believe that the soil is directly or indirectly becoming a repository of nanoparticles. According to research published in the research journal Science and Total Environment, barley roots grown in water contaminated with copper-oxide nanoparticles have been found to be only 5.7 times of copper and 6.4 times higher in leaves than plants grown in pure water.