Skip to main content

The IoT “Goes Nano”

Mark Patrick, Mouser Electronics

There can be no doubt about the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), its close cousin the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the fourth Industrial Revolution that they enable – commonly referred to as Industry 4.0. Improved sensing is enabling us to capture and store highly accurate data on a variety of parameters, and low-power, high-performance processors analyze this data rapidly and efficiently. These machines can run 24/7/365 as a result of advances in software, algorithms and machine learning, with humans only intervening when the machine asks for help.

The applications of this technology are broad and are used in smart buildings and intelligent factories as well as other places. Whatever they monitor and control, whether it is an environment or a manufacturing process, can be automatically controlled. As current data is compared to stored historical data, parameters can be tweaked to ensure a perfect output with the greatest possible efficiency.

Nanotechnology and the IoT?

Not many people make the direct connection between nanotechnology and the IoT, although it is already in the “here and now” and being put to use in data optimization. It is also anticipated that it will have a commercial role soon, within the sensing elements as well as the networks that connect the IoT.

Sensor Enhancement

Without the array of sensors on the market today, the Iot, IIoT and Industry 4.0 would hardly exist, if at all. And these incredibly important devices could benefit significantly from nanotechnology, especially in the area of enhancing the precision of the initial measurements. Greater precision would inevitably lead to increased data volumes, but modern systems can handle this easily, and the whole system would benefit from the more accurate measurements.

A well-understood benefit of using nanomaterials in sensing is the improvement in efficiency. One of the most often discussed materials is graphene, which can create large surface areas for sensing phenomena such as environmental changes.

Sensing mechanisms come in different types and work in various ways. Responding to physical changes is just one method; others include molecule absorption or remote operation. Nanomaterials can enhance the effectiveness of these processes, by measuring optical changes at a distance, absorbing atoms onto a surface or mechanical deformation such as compression, stretching or flexing. If the correct nanomaterial is selected (almost) all things are possible.

Most nanomaterials exhibit high electrical conductivity and charge carrier mobility, which leads to increased sensitivity. As something is detected, the electrical conductivity changes and this can be measured in a number of ways, especially as nanomaterials can be being highly sensitive, producing large detectable responses to small changes in the parameter being measured.

The Internet of Nano Things (IoNT)

Nanotechnology can positively impact the IoT and IIoT in more areas than just sensors. It is also possible to create communications networks using components that communicate at the nano level to exchange data. Known by some as the Internet of Nano Things (IoNT), it remains in its infancy but both the medical and communications industries are showing significant interest. The interest is generally highest for applications that require remote sensing as well as for measuring specific points on the human body.

There are two principal methods used for communication between the components that form the IoNT. Electromagnetic nano-communication uses electromagnetic waves, while molecular communication relies on the information being encoded into the molecules themselves. Within the network there are broadly four types of components: nano-nodes, nano-routers, nano-micro interface devices and gateways.

The smallest and simplest components are nano-nodes, often referred to as basic nanomachines. They have the ability to perform simple calculations and transmit data. Limited size and energy restrict the amount of memory available and mean that data can only be sent over short distances. However, if a nano-node is placed in close proximity to a nano-router, data can be transferred and sent over longer distances. As a result, nano-nodes are often used for sensing elements.

Nano-routers are more powerful devices that can control multiple nano-nodes and combine data streams to be sent on to a nano-micro interface device. The interface device then aggregates data from multiple nano-routers and uses nano-communication or more established network protocols to transmit the data to the microscale. The final component in the suite is the gateway that acts as a system-level controller as well as providing Internet access.

Nanotechnology Will Be a Big Part of the Future

There is no doubt that the IoT, IIoT and Industry 4.0 will continue to grow at a rapid pace, and it is likely that sensing will need to improve to enable finer control. Coupling this with a need for continually reduced size is likely to drive commercial requirements to implement nanotechnology and the IoNT. While we are in an embryonic stage at the moment, the seeds being sown now promise future benefits.


from Electronics Maker


Popular posts from this blog

TE Connectivity Announced Ultra Small Spring Fingers

TE Connectivity (TE)’snew ultra small spring fingers have one of the smallest footprints in the market to save valuable PCB space, allowing for use in a broad range of applications with space constraints across various industries.TE’s ultra small spring fingerscan save valuable PCB space with one of the smallest footprints in the market. Closed-loop contact design ensures reliable connection to the PCB, better normal force and higher current capacity (1.5A). Robust side wall minimizes over- compression. Special anti-lifting design can improve assembly e ciency by locking the tip of the contact within the sidewall of the spring  nger, which helps prevent the contact from getting caught on an operator’s glove during assembly. Pick-and-place area supports auto-assembly processes. It also offered in different heights and styles.As an authorized distributor for TE Connectivity, Heilind Asia provides TE’s products and also value added services. Heilind Asia supports both original equipment …

Hanwha TechwinCollects Two NPI Awards for Its Cutting-Edge Modular Mounter and Screen Printer at APEX

Hanwha Techwin Automation Americas, formerly Samsung C&T Automation, today announced that it has received two 2019 NPI Awards in the categories of Component Placement – High-Speed for its HM520 Cutting-Edge Modular Mounter and Screen/Stencil Printing for the ESE US-2000XF. The awards were presented to the company during a Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 ceremony that took place at the San Diego Convention Center during the IPC APEX EXPO.With the HM520 Modular Mounter, actual productivity is highest among machines of the same class and is optimized to high quality production. The system configures a flexible production line by applying a modular head and various production modes. The HM520 realizes unmanned, non-stop, and zero-defect production using the Smart Factory S/W Solution.The high performance HM520 offers a compact foot print, auto-calibrating maintenance free feeders, and modular heads. The HS(High Speed) Head offers a 20 Spindle x 2 Gantry, 80,000 CPH, ±25 μm @ Cpk ≥ 1.0, 0201 ~ …

Siemens partners with TIES, a Chinese R&D Center to develop new technologies for electric vehicle batteries

Advanced Battery Technology Innovation Center (ABTIC) is initiated jointly by Tianmu Lake Institute of Advanced Energy Storage and Siemens to develop advanced battery technologies and help bring them to volume productionABTIC aims to develop and provide digital solutions for production chains and innovation chains on next generation batteriesSiemens Digital Industries Software has partnered with Tianmu Lake Institute of Advanced Energy Storage Technologies (TIES), a major Chinese energy storage research and development center, to build an Advanced Battery Technology Innovation Center. The Innovation Center, to be located at the 500 million-yuan, 51,000 square meter TIES facility in Liyang, China, will be dedicated to transforming and upgrading the advanced battery industry, including nurturing advanced battery technology research and development, and the development and introduction of high-end talents in this growing area.The Innovation Center will provide the advanced battery innova…