Nanosprings, Another Piece of the Nanotechnology Puzzle

Dr. David McIlroy
Department of Physics
University of Idaho

Nanotechnology is being touted as the next significant advancement in science and technology. The proposed applications for nanotechnology range from biological sensors to nanorobotics, to name a few. In order to take nanotechnology from the realm of science fiction to reality we need determine what is possible, as dictated by the laws of physics, and what is not. Often times when approaching a new problem we have a tendency to over complicate the problem. Therefore, when developing nanomachines we should start simple. An excellent place to start is with toys. Toys are designed to perform complex functions using the simplest of designs. If we dictate that our toy performs a function or action then energy will be needed, as well as a means for storing energy. The simplest mechanism that satisfies these two requirements is a spring. In this presentation a summary of the efforts to develop nanosprings, springs that are on the order of tens of nanometers, will be presented.