What is so special about nanotechnology?
In light of the fact how big is the influence and potential of the current research, we can definitely say that after stone, bronze and iron age the age of nanotechnology has come. The progress has enabled us to produce materials with single atom or molecule precision, wherein one nanometer is a common unit of measurement. How can we imagine it? If we were to split a human hair into 100,000 equal slices along the axis, one of them would be roughly one nanometer thick. Another, maybe more vivid example is that human nails grow on average by one nanometer a second. If that is hard to imagine, please try to figure out how difficult it is to control the structure and so the properties of such small objects.
Precise engineering already on the nanoscale enables manufacture of tangible objects of previously unseen performance and properties. If we take, for instance, typical materials such as carbon or iron and shape their structure on a nanoscale in a particular way, then we obtain new materials, which may be nothing like the commonly pictured carbon or iron. They may have another color, conduct heat or electricity with uneseen performance or be very strong, but highly flexible at the same time. Good examples of new nanomaterials are carbon nanomaterials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. We can imagine graphene as a single sheet of carbon atoms. Carbon nanotubes in turn resemble a very long hollow tube made from such sheet of carbon atoms, which has got very small diameter. Such materials are regarded as future of energy management and microelectronics because, among other features, they can conduct electric current and heat much better than typically used materials such as copper, aluminum, silicon or silver. The consequence of vigorous research and development in this field are already many prototype applications. It should not be long before nanotechnology will be as common in households as cellphone or wi-fi, without which we cannot imagine life already.