A couple of weeks ago whilst writing about nanotechnology and the associated risk involved in such engineering techniques I mentioned Nanoart. This week I would like to expand and to present a gallery of examples.
nano playboy logo
To quote Cris Orfescu, founder of Nanoart 21, “NanoArt is a new art discipline at the art-science-technology intersections. It features nanolandscapes (molecular and atomic landscapes which are natural structures of matter at molecular and atomic scales) and nanosculptures (structures created by scientists and artists by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes). These structures are visualized with powerful research tools like scanning electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes and their scientific images are captured and further processed by using different artistic techniques to convert them into artworks showcased for large audiences.”
One of the issues raised during discussion in my previous posts was about the usefulness and point of such artistic expression, so here I quote the NanoArt 21 website:
“The purpose is to promote NanoArt worldwide as a reflection of a technological movement… a more appealing and effective way to communicate with the general public and to inform people about the new technologies of the 21st Century. NanoArt is aimed to raise the public awareness of Nanotechnology and its impact on our lives”.
There are several organizations that promote this form of expression and at least one international competition that offers cash prizes for the best examples (NanoArt 21 have an international competition). The German Centre for Research and Innovation hosted an exhibition of their collection in New York in 2011 and the number of artist/scientists involved seems to be growing.
The following gallery should give you an idea of this particular art form. Also take a look at the Nanobama here. The image is of nanotubes made in the shape of President Obama’s face, similar in style to the playboy above.
A nano landscape
You can find many other examples online. Do you like them? I personally like the 3D effect. It seems more accentuated because the images are created by electrons (electrically charged particles) rather than photons (particles of light). The electrons penetrate deeper into the structure creating images with more depth.
This is Technology Bloggers 150th article 🙂
Well done and thank you to all our brilliant writers (Hayley included), as well as readers and commenters who have helped us get here!
A fraction of the ever-expanding field of nano-technology, nano-robots, a.k.a. nanobots, hold some of the most promising possibilities in the fields of technology, engineering and medicine. They also pose some of the most complex hurdles, such as automation, replication, control and finding viable energy sources to enable movement.
Nanotechnology involves the study and micromanipulation of anatomic particles up to 1 nanometer, with scientists working to develop nanobots in fields less than 100 nanometers in size. Transmission electron (TEM), scanning electron (SEM), scanning tunneling (STM) and Atomic Force (ATM) microscopes are large, powerful machines that make all aspects of nanotechnology, including nano-robotics, possible.
Nano-microscopes allow researchers to isolate and observe single molecules, including chemical reactions that occur upon moving, eliminating and rearranging molecular structures. This base knowledge is essential to understanding, creating and ultimately finding solutions so that nanobot technology will reach its full potential.
Up until recent years, the development of nanotechnologies maintained “top-down” construction. The advent of “bottom up” creations on the nano-scale provide scientists the ability to create smaller objects; in addition, components can be “grown” to allow greater adaptation to specific environments or inclusion of specific properties.
Scientists are literally able to “grow” carbon nanotubes and “string” together nanowires, creating desired properties such as hastening conduction or reducing heat output – properties that make for tiny, efficient particles. In theory, by building a nanobot from the bottom up, scientists begin to find solutions that allow for greater control mechanisms and possibly self-replication of the nanobot.
Carbon nanotubes – building nanotechnology from the bottom up.
The greatest benefit of working bottom-up is that, rather than altering materials to work in a desired fashion, scientists build nanostructures and nanobots with proper compounds from the outset.
Although practical applications in medicine and technology have yet to be fully realized, nanobots are no longer figments of science-fiction imagination.
Lack of autonomy, largely associated with insufficient or unrealistic sources of energy, leaves a large barrier to the potential uses of nanobots. Batteries and solar sources are impractical due to size and, although a scientist can guide the nanobot with the use of magnets, they are not ideal. For example, a physician using a nanobot to treat a patient would need to maneuver the nanobot from outside the skin while also observing inner structures of the body.
Within the past year, scientists announced the creation of a nano “electric motor.” Utilizing principles of adsorption, a molecule attaches itself to the outside of a piece of copper; an STM probe focuses electrons onto the molecule, providing a source of energy and means to control direction. The large, cumbersome STM still makes this impractical in many ways; however, scientists are able to study this single motor and hypothesize ways to alter this and thus to apply it to nanobots.
In addition, micromanipulation made possible by electron microscopes allows for “DNA-walkers.” Essentially reprogramming a portion of a DNA strand, “molecular robots” or “spiders” walk autonomously; ultimately, scientists hope to further develop this technology, creating nanobots that fix genetic diseases.
Many scientists believe self-replication, most likely by programming the nanobot to micromanipulate surrounding atoms to create duplicates of its self, is essential to the realization of the many medical and technological applications.
In addition, a truly autonomous nanobot would be able to recognize, react and/or adjust to varying environmental conditions, including the presence of other nanobots; scientist could also program them for molecular assembly.
Many believe nanobots will allow for precise diagnostic capability and treatment of diseases such as cancer, as well as genetic disorders. Advances in communications, green energy, computer electronics and semi-conductors appear limitless.
Although still in its infancy, scientists across many fields hold much promise for nanobot technology. An autonomous nanobot, able to adapt its environment and self-replicate, could be the key to early detection and the cure of many diseases; in addition, nanobots will play an important role in sustainable or renewable energy sources, engineering and advancing computer technology. What do you think?
For further information check out the article on nanobots over at MicroscopeMaster. Links in my bio.