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NanoTechnology : news and updates

  • IFFCO launches world’s first “Nano Liquid Urea”
    What is the News?

    Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited(IFFCO) has launched the world’s first Nano Urea Liquid

    What is Nano Liquid Urea?
    • Nano Urea Liquid is a nutrient to provide nitrogen to plants as an alternative to conventional urea.
    • Developed by: Nano Urea Liquid has been developed indigenously through proprietary technology at IFFCO”s Nano Biotechnology Research Centre(NBRC) in Gujarat.
    • Efficacy Trials: IFFCO had conducted around 11,000 farmer field trials (FFT’s) on more than 94 crops across India to test the efficacy of nano urea. The trials had shown an average 8% increase in yield.
    What are the benefits of Nano Liquid Urea?
    • Firstly, Nano Liquid Urea can curtail the requirement of urea by at least 50%. This will in turn reduce India’s dependence on urea imports.
      • During 2019-20, the production of urea was 244.55 LMT. On the other hand, the consumption volume of urea was 336 lakh metric tonnes. This leaves a gap of over 91 LMT. India imported 91.99 LMT urea fertiliser in 2019-20 to fill this gap.
    • Secondly, nano urea liquid is significant as its use by farmers will boost balanced nutrition programs by reducing the excess use of Urea application in the soil. This will help make the crops stronger, healthier and protect them from the lodging effect.
    • Thirdly, the conventional urea is 30-40% effective in delivering nitrogen to plants while the effectiveness of the Nano Urea Liquid is over 80%.
    • Fourthly, the Nano Urea Liquid will be cost-effective as it will be cheaper. This will help in increasing farmers’ income.
    • Lastly, Nano Urea Liquid will have a positive impact on the
      • Quality of underground water
      • Reduction in global warming with an impact on climate change and
      • Sustainable development.

    Source: Indian Express

  • “Protein–Antibody Conjugates (PACs)” – A combination of biologics and Antibody-Drug Conjugates
    What is the News?

    A team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences has developed a nanoparticle. This nanoparticle has the potential to revolutionize disease treatment including for cancer. The research is based on a method known as Protein–Antibody Conjugates or PACs.

    What are Protein–Antibody Conjugates or PACs?
    • This is a new concept of combining two different approaches to drug delivery. Namely, Biological drugs and Antibody-Drug Conjugates(ADC).  Both these methods combined to produce Protein–Antibody Conjugate or PACs. This PAC can be used for targeted drug delivery.
    • Protein‐antibody conjugates(PACs) are used for antibody‐directed delivery of protein to specific cells.
    • This method ensures the precise and effective delivery of drugs to specific cells. Hence, this method could have an impact on treating diseases like pancreatic cancer.

    What are biological drugs(biologics)?

    • A biologic drug (biologics) is a product that is produced from living organisms or contains components of living organisms. The composition may include sugars, proteins, or nucleic acids or complex combinations of these substances.
    • The biological drug works by targeting a defective protein in the system by delivering proteins to it.
      • For example in case of insulin treatment. If a person is short of insulin, (which is a protein), then s/he will get an insulin shot to balance the system.
    How are Biologics different from conventional drugs?
    • Conventional Drugs are made from chemical processes to create the active ingredient compound in a traditional lab.
      • On the other hand, a biologics drug is defined as a drug derived from living cells. They are not chemically manufactured.
    • Conventional Drugs generally have well-defined chemical structures. On the other hand, biologics are complex mixtures that are not easily identified or characterized.
    What are Antibody Drug Conjugates?
    • Antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs are a class of biopharmaceutical drugs designed as a targeted therapy for treating diseases like cancer.
    • Unlike chemotherapy, ADCs are intended to target and kill tumour cells while sparing healthy cells.

    Note: Antibodies is a protective protein produced by the immune system in order to attack antigens. The antigen is a toxin or other foreign substances that induces an immune response in the body.

    Source: The Hindu


    Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines are effective against pneumonia

  • Government launches “NanoSniffer” – a Microsensor based Explosive Trace Detector
    What is the News?

    The Union Education Minister has launched a Microsensor based Explosive Trace Detector called “Nanosniffer”.

    About Nano Sniffer:
    • Nanosniffer has been developed by NanoSniff Technologies, an IIT Bombay incubated startup.
    • Purpose: It is the world’s first Microsensor based Explosive Trace Detector (ETD). It can detect explosives in less than 10 seconds. Not only that, but it can also identify and categorize explosives into different classes.
    • Key Features:
      • NanoSniffer accurately detects all classes of military, conventional, and homemade explosives.
      • The device gives visible and audible alerts with a colour display.
      • The device is a 100% Made in India product in terms of research, development and manufacturing. The core technology of NanoSniffer is protected by patents in the US and Europe.
    • Significance:
      • The device will reduce India’s dependency on imported explosive trace detector devices.
      • It will also encourage other institutions, startups and medium-scale industries to research and develop products indigenously.

    Source: PIB

  • Significance of “Nanophotonics”

    What is the News?

    Researchers from the University of Hyderabad have developed a technique named “mechanophotonics”. It has allowed them to move, slice, bend, and lift micron-sized wave guiding crystals using atomic force microscopy.

    Significance of Research: This ability to manipulate micron-sized crystals with precision and control is very useful in the field of nanophotonics. It focuses on building circuits, driven entirely by photons (light).

    What is Nanophotonics or nano-optics?

    • It is the study of the behavior of light on the nanometer scale and the interaction of nanometer-scale objects with light. It is a branch of optics, optical engineering, electrical engineering, and nanotechnology.
      • Nanometer: It is equal to one billionth of a meter. One nanometre can be expressed in scientific notation as 1×10−9 m.

    Applications of Nanophotonics:

    Solar cells:

    • Solar Cells often work best when the light is absorbed very close to the surface. It is because electrons near the surface have a better chance of being collected. Moreover, the device can be made thinner, which reduces cost. Researchers have investigated a variety of nanophotonic techniques to intensify light in the optimal locations within a solar cell.

    Optical Technology

    • Nano-Photonics can help achieve an unprecedented level of miniaturization. It is useful for all-optical-based technologies such as pliable, wearable devices. These are operated by light entirely.

    Integrated Circuits(IC)

    • Nanophotonics would make it possible to go beyond current electronics. It will build up integrated-circuits driven entirely by photons(light).


    • If a given amount of light energy is squeezed into a smaller and smaller volume (“hot-spot”), the intensity in the hot-spot gets larger and larger. This is especially helpful in nonlinear optics, an example is surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

    Source: The Hindu