nanotechnology.jpgWhile time has generally been defined through religious events such as BC, Before Christ and AD, After his Death, technology has defined various ages such as stone age, iron age and bronze age.


In our Feature we look at a new form of technology that may define the current era.

The 20th century saw the rapid rise in knowledge which was reflected by great technological advancement. It was in the same century that man started to fly which culminated in landing on the moon in 1969. By 1949 the computer had been invented.

While some quarters have labelled the 21st century the computer age, it is likely that this era will be defined as the age of nano-technology.

This new technology has already created an impact globally with developing countries also embracing it, as it seeks to transform the traditional technological methods used in such areas as water purification and even sporting kits designing.


Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Science and Technology Development is also working on a programme to use nanotechnology in almost every sector of the economy including water purification.

Currently purifying water is done through chemicals which other people have already complained that they have side effects.


In sport for example, athletes need to wear light material instead of heavy material which might affect their performances. All these worries might be a thing of the past this century if countries embrace nano-technology.

Experts describe nanotechnology as a study of controlling matter on an atomic and molecular scale and has the potential to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics and energy production.

But will this technology also benefit even the old professions? Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences President Professor Christopher Chetsanga says even the painting industry will also benefit from nanotechnology since the types of paints to be produced will be durable.

SIRDC Electronics and Communications Institute Principal Scientist Professor Xavier Carelse says the ordinary Zimbabwean can benefit from this new technology.

The technology will also benefit the water treatment sector where experts feel  there is need to adopt a science to filtrate water.

An international expert on nanotechnology Dr Alan Smith says when using nanotechnology the water treatment process uses very small particles of matter, as filters which attract bacteria, virus, nitrates and phosphates contaminants.

The process uses high surface area of very active small particles called nanoparticles to absorb toxic chemicals and pollutants. The small particles which will be positive will attract the negatively charged pollutants thereby purifying the water.

The small particles called nanoparticulate catalysts can also be used to break down the contaminants thus destroying them.


These particles which will be very active material are more effective and cost less than conventional water purification methods and could be used for small and large quantities of water. 


Explaining science has always been a difficult matter and that explains why some viewers might not understand this new technology, but what is heartening to know is, that, the majority of the human race has never taken pride in understanding science but in applying it and enjoying its benefits.


Truly if fully embraced locally, Zimbabwe might soon be enjoying applying this new technology which might benefit the majority.