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The Nano-Mechanical Engineering Future

Posted By Rigardt Coetzee, Friday, 08 November 2019

Nanotechnology has become a future investment in the technology of tomorrow. This world offers advanced computers, smart homes to smart phones, the rise to artificial intelligence, and an innovative Industry 4.0. However, where and how does this new reality become possible? And how do conventional engineering degrees, such as mechanical engineering, manifest themselves into this exciting new field? In 1970 Moore’s law stated that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double every two years. This is only possible if the manufacturing process evolves along with time. This requires the use of engineers, researchers and scientists to evolve and innovate methods to make the popular Moore’s law possible. Simultaneously, these methods open up new possibilities and advancements in multiple new technological industries. But industrial growth requires the ability to manufacture. Nano-manufacturing offers a great deal of potential and needs engineers, researchers and scientists of multiple disciplines in collaboration to advance and produce creative nano-material, cutting edge technologies and efficient products. The manufacturing scale still remains a challenge and requires new innovative studies to investigate the fundamental physics/chemistry and then apply findings to optimize the production process. By doing so the limitations currently faced by nanotechnology manufacturing can be overcome. Nanotechnology: a multidisciplinary field To obtain an understanding of the underlining physics/chemistry of the nanotechnology field, a great deal of engineering across multiple disciplines is needed. In my own Engineering research, I found myself studying and collaborating with multiple departments. In the field of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), an ultra-thin nano film fabrication process, it demands the attention within mechanical engineering design; heat and mass transfer; computation numerical methods across multiple scales (being reactors, chemicals, to atomized scale); chemical reaction mechanism creation; material sciences; among others. These discipline fields are soon to be seen branching to consumer usage related studies, medical equipment implementation, artificial intelligence, micro- and nano-electronics, optics, and so forth. For future implementation, mechanical engineers of tomorrow should adapt and evolve themselves  into multiple disciplines. Furthermore, they should utilize their unique contribution in the field of mechanical engineering to optimize and innovate from the fabrication process towards equipment and product design. Engineers of the past revisited in a modern field Lately, I found myself invested and intrigued when examining the engineering papers and findings of the past.These texts, correlations, and descriptions of numerous phenomena, reveal similarities and parameters that may affect, or describe the unique effects currently found to be unknown in the Nano-Engineering domain. The past works are found to re-innovate the need to re-engineer the current nano-fabrication problems. They embark on the understanding of the fundamental theory, and intrinsically allow counter-arguments to be made to explain previously unknown behaviours. Progress through innovation For the continual successful progress of the implementation of nanotechnology, new technologies previously seen as impossible or a fable dream due to their limitations should now be pursued. Mechanical engineers should utilize their unique skills and abilities obtained throughout their years of experience to contribute to dreams becoming reality. The unique skills that the field of mechanical engineering offers, past or present, truly contribute to the engineering of the future. These skills will play a key role in the nanotechnology field thtough contributions towards nano-manufacturing. And thus the ever-decreasing size of products, the possibility of AI and even smarter technology will become a reality.

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