One of the most awaited technologies on the verge of moving out of laboratories and set to enter commercial production is nanotechnology. There is so much buzz about nanotechnology that industries, from cosmetics, healthcare, and automobiles to aerospace, expect big disruptions due to nanotech. In the race for nano supremacy, I see healthcare as the most exciting space with a variety of use cases that can have a profound impact on humankind. In fact, nanotechnology is the most radical and wide-reaching emerging technology, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Before we delve deeper into the application of nanotechnology in healthcare, let us take a closer look at nanotechnology, its use cases, and its market share. This will give us a clearer perspective and some critical insights into this emerging technology.
Nanotech is a multidisciplinary field of research that deals with the restructuring and manipulation of matters that are of the size of 1 to 100 nanometers, i.e., at the molecular level. The word ‘nano’ means ‘dwarf’ in Greek and nanotechnology is the science of the extremely small!
Let’s understand what a nanometer is all about. To give you a better perspective, A virus, on average, is 40- 100 nanometers in size! Isn’t it amazing that we are now dealing with things 1/100th the size of a virus? And these subatomic particles are making big waves today! We are building nanorobots, nanotubes, nanodots, nanowires, and nanosheets that could be used for innovative and pathbreaking medical applications from diagnosis of disease and drug delivery to the disease-affected areas of the human body with great precision, something that hasn’t been actively pursued until now.
The space where nanotechnology meets healthcare is called nanomedicine. Industry experts estimate the nanomedicine market share to grow up to $260Bn in 2025 from $141Bn in 2020.
While nanostructures occur naturally in soil, dust, oceans, plants, and animals, scientists today are building nano materials with newly manipulated attributes or engineered properties. This holds massive potential and opens new doors in drug delivery systems, body scans, gene therapy, identifying cancer cells, and health monitoring.
All thanks to the great scientist Richard Feynman who seeded the concept of nanotechnology in 1959. He was also regarded as one of the best safecrackers in the world! You can read a book written by him, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”.