What is Nanotechnology? - Raze

What is Nanotechnology?

Posted by Tania Cheung


So, nano is small — how small, you may ask? To visualise something of ‘nano-size’, you would have to take a strand of hair and see it 100,000x smaller in size. 1 nanometre is about how long your fingernail is growing by the second. It’s also like a marble in comparison to the size of Earth. Strictly speaking, ‘nano-material’ is anything with a dimension of less than 100 nano-meters.

Nanotechnology hasn’t been around for a particularly long time, which means its definition and scope of use are constantly evolving. At the moment, the general consensus of nanotechnology’s definition seems to be:

The study and use of structures between 1 to 100 nanometers (nm).

Simply put, nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter from atomic to molecular all the way up to the supramolecular level. Contrary to popular belief, nano principles have actually been around for a long time. They exist in natural material, and co-exist in properties that govern our ways of surviving and adapting: the glow of a butterfly wing, self-cleaning effects of the Lotus leaf and the moth’s ability to see almost perfectly in the dark.

Besides, nanotechnology can be found even inside us. Many of the internal reactions present in human bodies are at nanoscale, composed of countless protein molecules that are coated with nanoparticles. Thus this initiated the rapid development of the nano-medicine field, from assisting with faster drug delivery to more effective molecular interactions relative to our own bodily structure. It’s all about seeking compatibility.

 

 

For example, if you have a phone and shrink its thickness to less than 100nm, it would be considered a ‘nano-sheet’. Shrinking the width even further to less than 100nm would be a ‘nano-rod’, and the length to less than 100nm would be ‘nano-dots’ — otherwise known as ‘nano-particles’.

Here’s how nano-particles compare to different sizes:

So why do we want to make things smaller?

When things get smaller, the physics gets weirder. The electronic properties of materials depends on its size. Say you have a chunk of gold and gold nano-particles: the gold block will conduct electricity under almost all circumstances. All sized currents, large and small can be passed through the gold block. However, the gold nanoparticles will behave more like an atom, and its energy levels are no longer continuous. The nanoparticles can only conduct electrons with certain amounts of energy. A minimum requirement to conduct electricity must be met. This ladder-like energy transition enables a strange delusion of physics creating electron-hole pairs that induces reaction to its surroundings.

Same goes for chemistry. The energy level transitions become discrete, and control of these levels are crucial. To make the same nanoparticles behave differently, it relies on surface modification to further increase the electron-hole pair life time. Even with the same material, their properties vary depending on fabrication processes.

Nano has been around for a long time, although the cultivation of its technology only commenced in the 1960s, with the term coined in 1974. The topic of nanotechnology itself is incredibly broad, despite having evolved over the last 20 to 30 years through the electronic industry, manufacturing techniques and significant investments on a large-scale production.

 

Commercial application

Nanotechnology has been used industrially among diverse areas between aerospace, consumer packaging, and medicine. Also seen as a catalytic material of sorts, it’s proven to be helpful in further improving the versatility and properties of common materials such as plastic. The multi-faceted use of nanotechnology makes it an attractive option for a range of industry uses, although it is extremely expensive to manufacture and develop.

Coatings are another prime example of nanotechnology, allowing for scratch resistance, improvisations in hardness, and bacterial decompositional abilities. The durability of these coatings can be dependent on a number of factors affecting particle reaction, such as environmental moisture, solution acidity, and concentration of minerals. Although nanotechnology is a readily evolving practice, the way nanoparticles behave in perpetually changing environments remains incredibly complex.

Nanotechnology used in Raze

Taking the two concepts in mind, Raze makes smaller, just-as-strange nanoparticles. We modified the topology of the particles, extending the electron-hole pair life time to unprecedented duration, thus improving the reaction rate of photocatalysis. Over a decade of R&D, usage of sustainable materials, and medical-grade technology, we create a structural coating that stays on surfaces for prolonged protection from pollution, pathogens, bacteria and germs.

Manufacturing our own nano-particles, together with photocatalyst technology and manufacturing experience, we cultivate uniformity and performance of our own nano-particles. In terms of size, we’ve taken WO3 particles and achieved a 2nm scale that further enhances the surface to volume ratio. This organic-inorganic composite structure hence modifies the WO3 electronic properties, in order to prolong the electron-hole recombination time. Raze Original utilises WO3 to produce the photocatalyst effects you know today. 

In simpler terms, this modification alters the electronic properties of WO3 to emit blue light after UV light exposure, also turning the solution blue as an indication of effectiveness.