Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the atomic scale, is seen as another key technology with the potential to change economies and lives in the future. It has been described as the resource for the next industrial revolution.
Its ultimate goal is to build nanomachines, mechanical or electromechanical devices whose dimensions are measured in nanometres (millionths of a millimetre).
Companies and governments are investing heavily in nanotechnology and some commercial products are beginning to appear on the market. Despite this, many major applications for nanotechnology are still some 5-10 years away. As private investors often look for short-term returns on investment of 1-3 years, some governments step in to ensure support for nanotechnology research and development in its early stages.
An IEC Technical Committee, TC 113, was created in 2006 to develop International Standards for the technologies relevant to electrical and electronic products and systems in the field of nanotechnology. It is developing and has already published standards and technical specifications for the use of nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes or graphene, as well as for nano-enabled electrotechnical products.
It is worth noting that several new technologies converge, for instance, it is possible to print nanomaterials using additive manufacturing (3D printing techniques).
Storage for solar power plant will benefit from nanotechnology
Nanotechnology will bring significant benefits to the energy sector, especially to energy storage and solar energy, according to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI commissioned by the IEC. The report, Nanotechnology in the sectors of solar energy and energy storage, found that there is a whole range of nanomaterials which will gain importance in energy storage applications as nanotechnology continues to advance.