By Keegan Frances
Think of nanotechnology and you’re likely to think of tiny cunning robots. But this is far from the truth.
As The Wonders of Nanotechnology workshop demonstrates, nanotechnology appears frequently – and usefully – in our current life. Chris Botha, owner of Orbilectron Consulting, listed these. One is the medical process commonly referred to as an angiogram.
Doctors can insert a thin hollow tube through an artery in the groin or arm to get x-ray images of blood vessels. This helps them evaluate and diagnose coronary heart disease. In some cases, this procedure is used to treat blocked arteries. In a related procedure called balloon angioplasty, a small balloon containing stainless steel mesh is inserted into a blocked artery to open it up. Botha said this kind of nanotechnology has allowed doctors to avoid invasive surgery.
Nanotechnology can also be found in certain types of plasters. “Plasters with silver particles are already widely available on the market,” he said. “Medical studies have shown that silver is a powerful disinfectant.”
Looking ahead, nanotechnology offers several potential applications which are currently being researched. With the help of minute carbon whiskers, scientists aim to create stain-resistant garments. Research is also investigating the use of nanotechnology in certain paints. Using this technology, car owners will be able to change the colour of their vehicles using an app on their phone. However, said Botha, this technology is not economically viable at present.
The Wonders of Nanotechnology is daily at 11am and 1pm