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Nano-Engineering – The Future?

Making a large impact in the future of engineering

Posted on 8 October 2022

At one billionth of a metre in size, it can be hard to grasp just how small nanoparticles are. To put it into perspective, if a nanoparticle was the size of a football, then a kiwi would be the size of the Earth by comparison. Here Neil Ballinger, Head of EMEA at EU Automation, explains how these tiny particles will make a large impact in the future of engineering.

Scientist at work

Nanoengineering involves the careful manipulation of structures on the nanoscale and has been steadily growing as an area of interest since the invention of the electron microscope in the 1930s. Because they use beams of accelerated electrons as a source of illumination, electron microscopes have a higher resolving power than conventional light microscopes and can reveal the structure of much smaller objects.

These early interactions with structures on the nanoscale were primarily observational, rather than direct interactions, but they marked the beginning of our journey into nanotechnology. Without them, it is likely that the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) wouldn’t have been invented in the 1980s. This was the first microscope that could image and manipulate structures on the nanoscale and earned its inventors, Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer, the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986.

Now, the uses of nanotechnology are growing and look set to make a big impact in industrial settings over the next decade. From drug delivery systems to smart sensors, the potential applications of this technology in the engineering industry are vast.

Credits: Lana Deamer @ Engineering Specifier