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Tiny Robots In Your Blood? The Possibilities Of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology involves manipulating and engineering materials at the nanometre scale, which is too minuscule to be observed under a regular microscope.

Think about the size of red blood cells coursing through our veins. Scientists have developed remarkable ideas harnessing things at the nanoscale, a field called nanotechnology. 

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On today’s episode of The Science Briefing, Dr Sophie Calabretto talked to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian to explain the definition of nanotechnology.

Phiddian says a nanometer is smaller than a centimetre or a millimetre, about the thickness of a line drawn by a ballpoint pen. 

We’re talking about the scale of molecules. DNA molecules, they’re about two nanometres wide. Most proteins are around about ten nanometres, and a typical virus is about 100 nanometres long,”

Phiddian said.

Nanotechnology already plays a role in our daily lives, from the tiny transistors in smartphones to the lipid nanoparticles carrying the mRNA vaccines.

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“The nanotech behind this is the mRNA in vaccines. That’s what goes into your blood and gets your cells to form immunity to COVID-19,” she added.

Moreover, nanotechnology holds promise in fields like medicine, energy, and sustainability. Nanomedicine explores targeted drug delivery and diagnostic capabilities using nanorobots or multifunctional nanoparticles.

There’s a lot of research looking into space. Unsurprisingly, aerospace and defence. Both of those are really keen on nanotechnology, looking for things like stronger, lighter materials.”

Introducing The Science Briefing: a podcast about the science of everything and your new go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine. Hear it on the LiSTNR app now.