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Nanotechnology Can Be Simple

An unfortunate misconception about nanotechnology is that it needs to be cutting-edge technology. This is most likely a manufactured perception, created by all the people out there trying to sell nanotechnology as the “next big thing”. While there are huge advancements in various industries being made due to nanotechnology, the use of these materials overall is nothing new. Keep in mind that, by the broadest definition, nanotechnology simply deals with materials with features <100µm in measurement.

NanoFoil® is classified as a nanotechnology due to the thickness of each aluminum and nickel layer, however NanoFoil® is a very simple material. It is interesting, useful …maybe even amazing. But regardless, it is simply Ni and Al foil. To make a point of how simple this is, let’s look at a common item I’m sure you have seen before: a metallized potato chip bag. The metal layer on these bags range from 40-50 µm thick, which is approximately the thickness of each bi-layer of NanoFoil®. While this product would be considered nanotechnology, it doesn’t excite the average consumer. (This consumer was also NOT excited about how many chips were in this package when I opened it…)

Perhaps an easy way to sort out the high-tech nanotechnology applications is to distinguish anything that makes use of quantum physics effects of the nano scale materials? Or maybe we should categorize them based on how difficult they are to produce? In the end, nanotechnology does not always equal high-tech. I argue: why does it need to?