Nanotechnology: A Scientific and Technological Convergence

Introduction

Innovation and development through scientific endeavors”

This is how one could describe the changes that technology has brought to human society for the past centuries. Several milestones of technological advancements were made throughout the years; from the creation of stone tools by Homo Habilis, the inventions and discoveries by Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei during the time of the Renaissance, through the Industrial Revolution, and now in the information age where Information Communication Technologies have now dominated several fields and aspects of people’s everyday lives.

There is no exception that the Philippines was greatly affected by the rise of ICT’s during the early 21st century. The Philippines may not be classified as a country that develops these kinds of technology, but rather a country that uses technologies developed in more advanced economies. Slow agricultural sustainability, inefficiency in protecting the environment, and failure of controlling population are only a few examples on how the Philippines is still lacking in adaptation of technological advancements. However, what seems to be an underdeveloped third world country has a knack in using ICT’s in the fields of developing a knowledgeable workforce for the process of outsourcing business in major cities, integration in electronics, healthcare, communications, and biotechnology. This is all because of the new technological forefront that has been dubbed the “new” technology: nanotechnology. “By definition, nanotechnology deals with materials and devices that are fabricated within the nanometer scale, and the tools and phenomena that are manifested within these scales.” (Enriquez, 75) With this in mind, what is the Philippines doing with this knowledge of devices made out of parts that are too small for the eye to see?

 

Short history on nanotechnology

Nanotechnology started with Richard Feynman’s “There’s Plenty of Room in the Bottom” lecture in 1959. He basically stated that there will come a day that there are still plenty to discover and create in the microscopic level with atoms and molecules. The next advancement in the field of nanotechnology is the first roadmap of the semiconductor industry proposed by Gordon Moore, who is one of the founders of Intel Corporation. The roadmap predicted the further shrinking and diminishing of the size of integrated circuits as time progresses in the following decades. Also around that time in 1965, a new type of microscopy was discovered. The scanned probe microscope or SPM was strong enough to see and feel actual atoms. Scientists finally had an extension of their hands shrinking down and able to manipulate objects down to the microscopic level. One of the most interesting discoveries was the construction of nanostructures, fullerenes (Smalley 2003), nanotubes (Collins and Avouris, 2000) and graphene (Geim and Nokoselov 2007) which are new forms of carbon that exhibited unique properties which was useful for building and constructing electrical material. All these advancements in the field of nanotechnology has stirred up business investments, multi-billion dollar initiatives, and R&D upgrades all throughout the world.

 

Effects of nanotechnology

Evidently nanotechnology has helped the society grow more in the field of science and research, but what is not obvious is how it has also affected the routines of our everyday lives. Nanotechnology has indirectly infiltrated different aspects of human society. One example is how it health can be improved with the help of nanotechnology through cheaper nanotechnological products, and faster medical diagnostics. Occupationally, nanotechnology will impose new jobs for society to absorb itself in due to the apparent increase in demand for knowledge that concerns skills and tools in developing nanotechnology. Food, hygiene products, and even clothes will be processed and packaged differently. The way producers and retailers will market these products will also cause a paradigm shift in the eyes of the consumers which will make nanotechnology a key player in the national economy. Lastly, nanotechnology can also embetter the environment. Making solar energy more affordable through the more efficient use of silicon based solar cells, nanoparticles, and ultrathin films, and also agricultural benefits through the aid of drug/fertilizer delivery systems, are only a few effects that nanotechnology can bring upon the Philippines.

 

Application of nanotechnology in Philippine environment

Nano particle TiO2 in commercial paint

The Philippines is ranked 39th out of 199 countries in terms of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emission, and it is not a joke that is in increasing more and more every year. In the approach of 2014, several firecrackers were lit up and had a 200% increase from last years count. Firecrackers release a large amount of toxic particles that can easily damage the lungs and the respiratory system. Climate change commissioner Heherson Alvarez stated in an interview with The Manila Times:

When I was Environment Secretary in 2001, that agency recorded a 2,000 percent hike in Metro Manila’s carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions as a result of massive New Year explosions. Today, with at least 50 percent of the nation’s 100 million people residing in urban areas, I would not be surprised if after 12 years, there is another 2,000 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions,” Alvarez said

New year’s eve is only one day in the year where toxic gas emissions are quite evident. What goes on for the rest of the 364 days? According to research, The Metro Manila pollution is caused by two things. First and foremost is the exhaust from motor vehicles. Second, the exhaust from factories and even first class hotels in Metro Manila.

We still use leaded gasoline which has been banned in advanced countries and, sad to say, it is a very common sight to see cars and trucks that are obviously violating the anti-pollution laws but seldom do you see their drivers apprehended by the police. There are also factories that spew out not only thick black smoke but that dump chemicals into our creeks and rivers, but that, too, continues unabated. Every morning, we take a walk and it is obvious that many of the hotels burn their garbage on their top floors.” (Roces, 2002)

There is an evident threat brought about by pollution in Metro Manila and nanotechnology proposes a way wherein it can help the environment.

In late 2008, local paint company Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines Inc., demonstrated an incorporation of nanoparticle titanium dioxide a photocatalytic ultrafine TiO2, in it’s newest product, Boysen KNOxOUT, which was later on branded as the most effective air cleaning paint formulated to date. In their demonstration, the paint was applied inside a major metro light rail transit station along EDSA, Metro Manila. Passive air samples were used to track down how much emissions of Nitrogen Dioxide, a harmful gas evident in pollution in the urban area, were deployed around several places in the station. The results showed that there was a 22% decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels in certain locations around the site. Based on nitrate analysis, it is estimated that the KNOxOUT  painted on the walls of the station was able to remove 1.3 metric tons of NO2 per year which is equivalent to cleaning the exhausts of 30,000 vehicles per day. Boysen has announced that KNOxOUT will be marketed for commercial and residential buildings and structures and would be commercially available early 2009.

Conclusion

            As we can see, nanotechnology at present is an example of scientific and technological convergence. It not only affects fields of research and development, but also has a significant impact in our daily routines, whether it may be the air we breathe when we step outside, to the clothes we wear when we sleep, or even the food we eat for breakfast, it cannot be denied that nanotechnology has indirectly changed our lives. The future of nanotechnology in the Philippines is bright and it is now considered as one of the major areas of development and has a significant allocation of R&D funding. With this in mind, hundreds of new doors open for possibilities that can slowly put this country back on the map.

 

References:

Dayrit, Dr. Fabian M. . “Nanotechnology Roadmap for the Philippines: An Overview.” Tech Monitor. 1 2010: 30-32. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. <http://www.techmonitor.net/tm/images/d/d1/10jan_feb_sf3.pdf>.

Roces, Alejandro R. “Metro Manila pollution exceeds tolerable level.” Philippine Star 10 9 2002, n. pag. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. <http://www.philstar.com/opinion/175428/metro-manila-air-pollution-exceeds-tolerable-level>.

Valente, Catherine, James Galvez, and James Pilapil. “New year Revelry Worsened Metro Manila Air Pollution.” Manila Times 2 1 2014, n. pag. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. <http://manilatimes.net/new-year-revelry-worsened-metro-manila-air-pollution/64672/>.

Enriquez, Erwin. “Nanotechnology of the Philippines.” Trans. Array Stellar Origins Human Ways. Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2011. 71-86. Print.

 

Group Members:

Cruz, Kysha

Gascon, Jestine

Mendoza, Lui

Orosa, Paps

Que, Jude

Quitangon, Ariel

Sale, Doods

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One thought on “Nanotechnology: A Scientific and Technological Convergence

  1. In the intro, the link between ICT and nanotechnology is not correct. ICT already existed before nanotechnology really developed. ICT can be done even w/out nanotech. It can be greatly improved though when nanomaterials are used.

    Entry is too long.

    -RAM

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