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Despite these terms being around for a long time, it’s not uncommon to interchange nanoscience and nanotechnology. As such, it’s important to note that these terms are not the same.
According to Erasmus Mundus, the European Union’s higher education programme, nanoscience refers to the study, manipulation and engineering of particles and structures on a nanometer scale. Similarly, nanotechnology is described as the design and application of nanoscience which paves the way to new materials and components.
In simple terms, nanoscience is the study of nanomaterials and properties, while nanotechnology is using these materials and properties to create a new product.
With that being said, the Investing News Network provides a comprehensive look at nanoscience investing, with an overview of the subject and where it’s headed in the future. Further, we provide you with options for investing in nanoscience
What is nanoscience?
The University of Sydney Nano Institute describes nanoscience as the study of structure and function of materials on the scale of nanometers. Nanometers are classified as those particles that are roughly the size of about ten atoms in a row.
Under those conditions, light and matter behave in a different way as compared to normal sizes.
“These behaviours often defy the classical laws of physics and chemistry and can only be understood using the laws of quantum mechanics,” the University’s research page said.
The Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon identifies carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as one of the examples of a component that is designed at nanoscale level leading to these structures being stronger than steel at the macroscale level.
Scientists, researchers and industry experts are notably enthusiastic about nanoscience and nanoparticles because these particles get very “excited” at a nanoscale level.
As a study paper published from Jeffrey C. Grossman, a University of California student notes, quantum properties come into play at the nanoscale level. In simple terms, at a nanoscale level, a material’s optical properties like the color can be controlled.
Further, the study paper said that the surface-to-volume ratio is increased at the nano size which opens up “new possibilities for applications in catalysis, filtering, and new composite materials, to name only a few.”
In other words, the opening up of surface area, which adds new possibilities, has drastic effects on everyday activities like manufacturing. The new applications in catalysis could lead to speeding up of manufacturing, while the new composite materials, adds more dimensions of an end product. Further, this could also lead to increased resources and could play a role in the energy sector by increasing efficiency.
What are nanomaterials?
As The Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering puts it, the aim of nanoscience and nanotechnologies is to produce new or enhanced nanoscale materials. Nanomaterials are formed as a result of those materials whose properties are changed at nanoscale level.
The report from The Royal Society, a sister academy to Royal Academy of Engineering, UK’s national academy of engineering, was part of the study commissioned by the UK Government. The study covered several aspects including the developments of nanoscience and nanotechnology.
As such, nanomaterials involves elements that contain at least one nanoscale structure but includes several subcategories based on their shape and size.
According to the study from The Royal Society, nanowires, nanotubes and nanoparticles like quantum dots along with nanocrystalline materials are said to be part of nanomaterials. While these are the broader classification of nanomaterials, each of these has several sub materials like graphene, which is one of the popular forms of nanomaterials.
Graphene is an example of a nanoplate as its thickness comes under a nanoscale, but its other two dimensions are quite large.
The Integrated Nano-Science & Commodity Exchange (INSCX), a self-regulated commodity exchange devoted to trading has a wide range of nanomaterials and related commodities lists around 897 nanomaterials. The exchange states that it is adding 200 new items each week for trading, which is on the lines of other commodities such as metals, energy or agricultural products. The exchange states that it would continue to add more materials each week as its entire product range is in excess of 4,500.
As the study from MIT notes, nanoscience and nanotechnology are used in a variety of applications across diverse fields from energy to manufacturing. The university of Sydney Nano Institute further highlights how the nanoscience and the technology impacts manufacturing, energy and the environment through the continuous development of new nano and quantum materials.
Similarly, nanoscience and nanomaterials like graphene are also having a major impact in the technology field as the likes of graphene is used for various purposes including cooling and in batteries.
Zion Market Research has predicted that the global nanomaterials market will see an revenue surge to US$16.8 billion by 2022, up from US$7.3 billion in 2016.
In the US, the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a US government research and development initiative that involves 20 federal and independent agencies, has received cumulative funding of US$27 billion since 2001 to advance research and development of nanoscale projects. In August 2018, NNI said that the 2019 Budget supports nanoscale science and technology research and development at 12 of its agencies.
Investing in nanoscience
With growth predicted across multiple areas and industries and with researchers and institutes working on developing the nanoscience field, investors have several stocks for their investment consideration.
Investors can look at the most popular nanomaterial, graphene companies like Applied Graphene Materials (LSE:AGM,OTC Pink:APGMF), Haydale Graphene Industries (LSE:HAYD). Further, investors can also consider nanotech investing stocks, such as NanoViricides (NYSE:NNVC), Nanophase Technologies (OTCQB:NANX), Sona Nanotech (CSE:SONA,OTC Pink:LMTCF).