We are living amid a technological revolution that is transforming the globe. Changes are visible in all aspects of our lives from transportation, health, and communications. As the adage states, yesterday’s science fiction is today’s science. We are now expanding our capabilities in every area of science, chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering. That includes heightened spae exploration, as well as building smart cities, new manufacturing hubs, and developing artificial intelligence and quantum technologies.

The rapid pace of technological change is clearly visible, but much of what you may not see, the exceedingly small physical components of change called nanotechnologies, are catalyzing the revolution. While there are many nanotech uses, three areas of nanotech are paving the way to our future: Materials Science, Nanomedicine and Device Engineering.

What is Nanotechnology?


The concept of nanotechnology was derived in 1959 by Nobel prize physicist Richard Feynman in a speech at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). As further and more contemporarily defined by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), “Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale, at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Matter can exhibit unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties at the nanoscale, differing in important ways from the properties of bulk materials, single atoms, and molecules. Some nanostructured materials are stronger or have different magnetic properties compared to other forms or sizes of the same material. Others are better at conducting heat or electricity. They may become more chemically reactive, reflect light better, or change color as their size or structure is altered.” About Nanotechnology | National Nanotechnology Initiative

Dr. Tom Cellucci, who, before he was appointed the First Chief Commercialization Officer of the United States by President George W. Bush (and re-appointed by President Obama), was an instrumental person in the creation of the NNI before he entered government service. He was determined, working with all three branches of the US Government, to get the $3.9 B in funding for the NNI, in order to start a nanotech revolution in our country and throughout the globe.

Dr. Cellucci has authored or co-authored more than 25 books and over 362 articles on requirements development, commercialization, nanotechnology, laser physics, and photonics. He’s recently turned his sights to working with one of his former undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Mark Banash (PhD Princeton University), at a small firm in the Boston area called JP Industries International, where they are developing and patenting a number of solutions for personal security and infrastructure protection applications using patented nanotech products and systems. More on his background and writings can be found here: (3) The Hon., Thomas A. Cellucci, PhD, MBA | LinkedIn

To get a better understanding of nanotech, it’s important to focus on the applications of nano particles. Nano particles are functional across a variety of industries and verticals. The graphic below is an excellent summary of those extensive applications:

Source: “Commercial scale production of inorganic nanoparticles”

As nano particles are the building blocks of new discoveries, the graph above highlights many industries and verticals where nanotech may have applications. NNI notes that by using nanotechnology-based principals, materials can be made to be stronger, lighter, more durable, more reactive, and serve as better electrical conductors.

While the list of nanoparticle applications in the graphic are all important, three areas of are areas of nanotech are already impacting our future: 1) Materials Science (Construction), 2) Nanomedicine (and Health), and 3) Device Engineering (Electronics, Wearables).

Materials Science:

In industry, government and academia, new and exciting research in nano particles and materials science are creating stronger, durable, lighter, and even “self-healing” and self-assembling materials through nano-scale engineering. Nanomaterials artificially engineered as molecular scale synthetic composites are now being designed at the inter-atomic level.

The capability to use nano-mechanics to design and manufacture infrastructures such as bridges, roads, buildings — all with stronger, adaptable, self-intelligent, and seemingly mundane materials will revolutionize the construction and transportation industries. The Department of Energy and Department of Transportation have many programs and initiatives in material sciences in progress.

Via the use of nanoparticles, 3D Printing and 4D Self-assembling Printing are accelerating material science. 3-D Printing is trailblazing future manufacturing by using creations of material science. 3-D Printing connotes a three-dimensional object that is created layer by layer via computer aided design programs. To be able to print the object, the computer divides it into flat layers that are printed one by one. By printing with advanced pliable materials such as plastics, ceramics, metals, and graphene, there have already been breakthroughs in prosthetics for medicine and wearable sensors.

The big advantage for government is that 3-D printing can be customized, produced rapidly and is cost-effective. The possibilities for 3-D printing are limitless. Rolls-Royce has used 3-D printing to make parts for its jet engines, and BAE Systems has stated that fighter jets containing 3-D-printed parts are now being flown.


Nanomedicine is already a thriving area of practice. The term refers “to the use of materials at the nanoscale to diagnose and treat disease. Some researchers define nanomedicine as encompassing any medical products using nanomaterials smaller than 1,000 nanometers. Others more narrowly use the term to refer to injectable drugs using nanoparticles smaller than 200 nanometers.” Nanoparticles are the future of medicine – researchers are experimenting with new ways to design tiny particle treatments for cancer (theconversation.com)

The means of transporting nanomedicine can be done by nanobots. There was a movie made years back called Fantastic Voyage (Fantastic Voyage – Wikipedia). The plot was that a scientist is nearly assassinated and in order to save him, a submarine was shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his bloodstream with a small crew. My former neighbor, the late Dr. Aaron Josephson, of Michael Resse Hospital in Chicago was an advisor to the movie. Although we cannot shrink a crew, we can use nanobots for medical purposes, especially drug delivery. “Nanobots are robots that can be used very effectively for drug delivery. Normally, drugs work through the entire body before they reach the disease-affected area. Using nanotechnology, the drug can be targeted to a precise location which would make the drug much more effective and reduce the chances of possible side effect.” Nanobots – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Nanotechnologies have created significantly enhanced imaging and diagnostic tools to help enable earlier diagnosis, treatments, and therapeutics. Nanotech is being used to enhance bone and neural tissue engineering. It is also a component involved in the successful implantation of bionic eyes, kidneys, hearts, and other body parts. Advanced pliable materials such as plastics, ceramics, metals, and graphene are also being used for prosthetics for medical applications.

Nanoparticles are also playing an amazing role in the creation of gene sequencing technologies, drug delivery, including vaccines. Nanopore technology has become increasingly important in the field of life science and biomedical research, including genomics. The nanopore technology embeds nano-scale holes in a thin membrane and measures the electrochemical signal to investigate biomacromolecules. Nanopore Technology and Its Applications in Gene Sequencing – PubMed (nih.gov)

3-D Printing manufacturing with nanoparticles also can be used for medicine via bioprinting. Three-dimensional (3-D) Bioprinting means creating living tissues, such as blood vessels, bones, heart or skin, via the additive manufacturing technology.

In a recent interview, Erik Gatenholm, CEO of CELLINK, estimated that “we will see fully functioning organs within the next decade or so.” Gatenholm added, “scientists have been able to bio print hearts, lungs, kidneys, skin, corneas and more throughout the last 5 years and are currently working towards developing full functioning organs.” 3D Bioprinting – Overview of How Bioprinting Will Break Into Healthcare (medicalfuturist.com)