Airdate: Jan 08, 2019
Scientist: Dr Quinn Spadola
We're all carrying nanotechnology in our pockets; soon we'll be wearing it, too.
Smartphones, SmartclothesYour thumbnail grows a billionth of a meter - a nanometer, every second. That's so tiny it's imperceptible to the naked eye, but it's the scale of nanotechnology, a branch of science that touches nearly every aspect of our lives, from computers to clothing. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Spadola: Nanotechnology simply is when scientists and engineers work at the nano scale and take advantage of the unique properties at that scale to either improve existing materials or create all new things that are going to make big changes in our lives. Dr. Quinn Spadola is education coordinator for Nanotechnology at Georgia Tech, which is part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure.Spadola: Right now we're all carrying nanotechnology in our pockets,even the touch screens that allow us to operate our smartphones.It's also if you have stain resistant fabrics, if you have a pair of pants and if you spill coffee or chocolate, it'll just roll right off. That's actually thanks to nanotechnology. That fabric has nano scale structures on it, little bumps. And they create a layer, a thin layer of air. And that's what repels if you spill anything on your pants. And it's so small, we can't feel it, we can't see it. But it makes that difference that now our clothing stays clean.These nano bumps are inspired by nature. The lotus leaf, which repels water, you see the little droplets bubbling up on it. Those little droplets are being repelled from the surface of the leaf for the same reason. There are nano scale bumps on that lotus leaf and it helps to keep the leaf self cleaning. The water just rolls off and takes any dirt with it.We'll hear more about how nanotechnology is impacting our lives in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation.