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Why in news?

  • Scientists have developed a substrate (the surface or material on which an organism lives, grows) for optical sensing applications using a gold nanostructure.
  • Such substrates are sensitive to change in the refractive index of the surrounding medium and can detect biologically important molecules and chemicals in the laboratory.
  • The substrate has potential applications in chemical sensing and can help one to follow up the kinetics of a reaction as in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
  • These applications demand adjustable spectral range and resolution for high throughput screening to test efficiently under identical conditions at a time, avoiding the necessity of using multiple substrates.

What is nanostructure?

A nanostructure is a structure of intermediate size between microscopic and molecular structures. Nanostructural detail is microstructure at nanoscale. Nanoscale structure in biology is often called ultrastructure.

What is nanotechnology?

  • When we modify materials at their atomic and molecular level, some very unusual and useful properties are generated.
  • Since the dimensions of atoms and molecule are in nanometers, this technology is called nanotechnology. The resulting materials are called nanomaterials.
  • Nanomaterials can be used for wide variety of things, ranging from purification of water to wrinkle free fabrics to curing cancer.

Nanotechnology in India

  • Efforts to promote research in nanotechnology in India began early in the millenium.
  • The “NanoScience and Technology Initiative” started with a funding of Rs. 60 crores.
  • In 2007, the government launched a 5-year program called Nano Mission with wider objectives and larger funding of USD 250 million.
  • The efforts have paid off well. India published over 23000 papers in nanoscience in the past 5 years.
  • But there is lot of room for improvement. The amount India spends on nanotechnology research is still just a fraction of the research spending of countries like Japan, USA, France and China.
June 2024