Nanotechnology in nature: nature nanotechnology is a huge area and it another type of nanotechnology. Natural nano-structures are everywhere. In our planet nature, nanotechnology is widely distribute and those are the part of the planet formation process. Proteins, DNA (2.5nm), viruses (10–60nm), and bacteria (30nm to 10μm) are some good examples of nano nature. Other than that desert sand, smog, oil fumes, smog, fumes (volcanic activity) or from forest fires and certain atmospheric dust is another example of nanotechnology.
In the biological world natural system have built many structures to improve mechanical, optical, magnetic and chemical properties of living beings. For example lotus effect, that naturally forms on leaves of the lotus. nacre (mother-of-pearl) from the shell of the mollusc is a naturally formed lamellar ceramic is another good example for that. These systems have evolved and evolution for millions of years for the optimization for nature.
In natural nanotechnology, these nano nature systems are the bottom-up approach. Being with molecules and with the help of self-organization technology. It becomes very successful in making of larger structural and functional components.
These nature nanosystems (functional systems) can be group by complex sensing, self-repair, information transmission and storage, and all other based on the molecular level. For an example for the complex sensing, shark teeth are the best example. The outer layer consists of biomineralized fluorapatite and organic compounds that give unique hardness, toughness and sharpness. These nature nanosystems evolved until much smaller (1/20 of a human hair) to give animal various abilities. These finely honed nanostructures help animals to climb, slither, camouflage, flirt, and thrive.
Let’s have some examples.
Below figure shows an electron microscopic image of a patch in human ears. It consists of a single bundle of stereocilia and acts as a nano mechanical cantilever . Which is 3nm because of sound waves grabbing. Also, shiny colors in butterfly and peacock wings are produce with nanostructures.
Pigments of their wings are consist of nanoscale channels, ridges, and cavities made of chitin a kind of protein.
Unlike the pigments, these make color by absorbing some wavelengths of light and reflecting the rest. These nano-structural pigments have various shapes so that it can bend and spread light into different directions. Then it send various colors back to our eyes. That is why we see different colors when we look in different directions. There is much interest in applying these wonders with potential applications in optical engineering. As a result, photonic crystal pigment-free paints would not fade, fabrics might be more vibrant.
Another application in nature nanotechnology is the compound eye of arthropods have nanoscale features to enhance their visual sensitivity. These have about 50–10,000 individual facets, which are studded with an array of nanoscale protuberances called “corneal nipples”. Each have its own set of optical machinery. These small structures (50 to 300nm) cut down the glare that reflects off the compound eye.
What is the hardest material on the Earth?
Spider silks (spider webs) are some of the toughest materials of Earth. It stronger than steel, and their webs can amazingly face the high wind. The spider’s web’s get their toughness from nanometers of thin crystal proteins, which consist of hydrogen bonds.
These are only a few examples of nanotechnology that nature has. There are thousands of them, not even found. The human body is a package that has so many nature nanomachines. So this the good point that natural nanotechnology that nature has is many steps ahead than humans.