Nanotechnology Timeline and Predictions
Part of the Nanotechnology For Dummies Cheat Sheet
In just the past ten years, numerous developments have been made in nanotechnology. This timeline will help you understand the recent past, present, and future of nanotechnology.
Recent advances in nanotechnology
2000: President William Clinton signs off on funding for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The NNI is created to be a coordinated program among several U.S. agencies that could bring much of their research together to move the field forward.
2003: Jennifer West and Naomi Halas at Rice University develop gold nanoshells that can be used to destroy cancer cells without harming adjacent healthy tissue.
2004: The National Cancer Institute establishes the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer.
2005: Researchers at IBM develop vertical nanowire transistors that can be used to produce more powerful microprocessors.
2006: Researchers at Rice University develop a low-cost method of using nanoparticles to remove arsenic in drinking water.
2008: Researchers at Berkeley discover negative refraction to bend light in materials made from nanowires, for use in developing optical lenses with much higher resolution than conventional lenses.
2008: Hewlett Packard announces the development of a switching memristor for use in computer memory and logic applications.
2010: Harvard University researchers demonstrate a nanoscale transistor to measure electrical activity in a human heart cell.
2010: Researchers at New York University and China's Nanjing University demonstrate an assembly-line method using nanorobots built from DNA strands.
Looking into the future of nanotechnology
The dates given here are estimates based on popular opinion in the field, but of course, the future is anybody's guess.
Within 7 years: Techniques for medical diagnosis, targeted drug delivery, and targeted hyperthermia (heat treatment) could reduce cancer to an easily detected and treatable illness.
Within 10 years: Techniques for medical diagnosis, targeted drug delivery and treatment could reduce heart disease to an easily detected and treatable illness. Nanomaterials contained in the fabric of military battlesuits will transform the fabric as needed from flexible, comfortable material to rigid and bulletproof or sealed from chemical or bacterial agents.
Within 15 years: Nanorobots perform cellular repairs that could cure almost any disease. Carbon nanotube cables will be used in the space elevator, enabling inexpensive space travel.
Within 20 years: Replicators using molecular manufacturing could allow us to build almost anything inexpensively atom by atom. Diamonoid materials with a strength-to-weight ratio of about 50 times that of steel could make very lightweight cars, planes, and spacecraft available.