Looks at the progressive impact of particle analysis on daily life in mainstream consumer products. Includes public awareness of technology issues.
In two generations, atomic science has gone from an almost academic subject to an everyday, mainstream commercial and domestic fact of life. The main reason is the extremely rapid development of an almost entirely new form of materials science. Almost subconsciously in the public psyche, things like a particle size analyzer have gone from incomprehensible to basic vocabulary status.
That’s a quantum long jump in awareness, and very much a move for the better. That’s important, because subject like nanotechnology and molecular science are progressively impacting through the mainstream markets. Everything from food to clothing is now part of the mix related to particle analysis.
Ignorance is definitely not bliss for anyone in terms of the possible issues related to materials science. Particle analysis is the fundamental defining methodology for provision of information. The properties of any material in public use, whether it’s nano silver in clothing, new cleaning enzymes or GM food properties, are all now legitimate areas of public interest.
Going mainstream in real time- The “interpreter” function of particle analysis
Because emerging technology is always a hot topic, information is now a high value commodity across the board when discussing the relative merits or perceived threats of new materials. Particle analysis is the main source of this information. Commercial risk management issues are the main working machinery for turning particle analysis into meaningful information.
CSIRO Australia recently did an extremely important study of carbon micro particulates as health hazards. This particular topic covers a range of commercial issues from anti-pollution measures to the potential risks of nanotechnology. CSIRO did a true heavy-duty analysis of the effects of carbon micro particulates, including a study of intra-tissue impacts as a “mechanical effect” on lungs.
This is the “interpreter” function of particle analysis in practical terms. The issues are:
- Public health policy
- Risk management in commercial environments
- Pure research into a subject not previously covered
Meaning that the particle analysis component of this research is core information for all parties, defining possible hazards and clarifying the various issues. This role is now taking center stage in science, particularly nano technology, which is now entering the commercial and domestic mainstream in a large range of materials.
Particle analysis methodologies like laser diffraction and other fundamental methods are now the benchmark- setters for standards of information. Online publications in academic, professional and news sites are using this information to describe whole new areas of technology. It’s a new language, likely to become even more important as nanotech, which is perhaps the most efficient range of materials in scientific history, enters daily life.
New developments like graphene nano transistors, single-molecular engines and other “impossible” technologies are going to need some explaining as they hit the mainstream. One of the most basic principles of use of language is “avoid ambiguity”. Particle analysis science may be more challenged by creating the vocabulary than it is by the actual science, but one thing for sure- It won’t be a dull conversation.