Integrating Nanotechnology into the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm has long been considered a major catalyst for the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the potential to change the way we live our lives. However, its effect promises to be further enhanced by incorporating nanotechnology.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interconnected physical objects combined with sensors, antennas, processors, software, and other technologies to enable the exchange of relevant data over the Internet. From grains to guided missiles, the range of these devices is broad and appears to be growing; Projections for the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things in 2025 peak at 75 billion, with tens or possibly hundreds of zettabytes of data generated.

Facilitating such fundamental predictions is the development of enabling technologies (including cloud computing and big data analytics) and different communication modes, called Internet of Things protocols. These protocols enable the exchange of data between endpoint devices, such as sensors and the next part of the devices in the connected environment. They include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Near Field Communication (NFC) for short distances, Low Energy Wide Area (LPWA), and 5G for long distances.

Arguably one of the most remarkable developments lies in the incorporation of nanotechnology. This promises to extend the concept of the Internet of Things to the fullest extent possible through nano-devices and to bring about an entirely new derivative of the Internet of Things, the Internet of Nano-Things (IoNT).

nano devices

Adopting nanomaterials within IoT devices could leverage their exceptional properties to increase functionality, energy efficiency, and accuracy of devices while reducing their size. Nanoantennas, nanoprocessors, and nanobatteries are examples of IoT nanodevices that are currently being used or developed, but within the IoT endpoints, the most commonly used nanodevices have been found as nanosensors.

nano sensors

IoT sensors must monitor certain phenomena in sensor environments to provide relevant data for subsequent analysis. Nanosensors use a wide range of nanomaterials to achieve this and are capable of physical, chemical and biological monitoring.

For example, Tang et al. (2019) A flexible real-time ammonia nanowire-based (NH .) sensor3) watching. The sensor, which was developed to be used inside a watch-type device, displayed a lower detection limit and faster response time than conventional NH3 Sensors are mainly due to their very high surface area to volume ratio.

The significantly lower power consumption (as low as 3μW) and scalable soft lithography fabrication technology further support how nanomaterials can realistically improve IoT sensors.

Similar nano-based advantages have been observed for non-invasive biosensors for continuous monitoring of blood glucose and for monitoring of chemicals, microbes, and other analyzes in drinking water.


IoT antennas are responsible for the wireless communication of IoT devices by receiving, decoding and transmitting information over different types of waves. Nanoscale, often based on graphene, primarily achieve this function by radiation in the terahertz frequency range.

It is expected to be much smaller than conventional antennas and could even be combined with nanosensors using carbon nanotubes, which can sense and signal.

Another particularly exciting feature based on nanotechnology could lie in the fabrication technique. Drexel University researchers have developed a titanium carbide nanoantena that can be sprayed directly onto anything, solid or flexible, in a simple one-step process without adding any weight or a circuit, enabling any object to quickly become a smart IoT device.


The IoT processor must process the data from the IoT endpoints by performing appropriate computations. They are made primarily of silicon and consist of millions, often billions, of transistors that act as switches within groups of gates that mimic logic functions.

Nanoprocessors remain largely in the lab, with a team of MIT engineers developing the first programmable carbon nanotube processor just a few years ago in 2019. Consisting of just 14,000 transistors, achieving the greatest efficiency and speeds of carbon nanotubes in as much as This job. be more than many years.

Nano batteries

As expected, the wireless system for smart devices has significant power requirements commensurate with its long life, high energy density and rechargeable batteries. Currently, lithium-ion variants are the most common.

Nano batteries use nanomaterials in the electrodes or membrane to reduce self-discharge rates, increase energy density, and reduce charging times.

Soliman and others. (2021) found that carbon nanotubes, lithium titanate oxide nanoparticles, and germanium nanowires are all examples of nanomaterials that have been successfully used for this purpose.

Nano Internet of Things

The incorporation of all or some of these nano-devices into the current IoT concept is considered to be the emergence of the nano-internet of things. Although it is commonly described as just a nanoscale version of the Internet of Things, the implications for the Internet of Things go far beyond what simple differentiation suggests.

The advantages of nano-devices, whether it is the enhanced sensitivity of nano-sensors or the increased energy density of nano-batteries, enables a new level of sophistication for the IoT model and facilitates its application in ever-increasing applications.

Internet of Things (IoT) | What is the Internet of Things | How does it work | Explaining the Internet of Things | edurica

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IoNT and IoT Challenges

With billions of sensors collecting unprecedented amounts of confidential data, privacy and security concerns are critical barriers to their widespread uptake. Appropriate levels of encryption, cybersecurity protocols, and authentication are all required before the necessary trust can be achieved in IoT and IoNT.

This huge number of sensors also raises concerns about power supply, particularly given the reliance of current battery technology on lithium.

Arm, the UK chip maker, highlighted this problem by saying that meeting the demands of batteries for expected IoT and IoNT adoption would require three times the annual lithium production worldwide.

IoNT and IoT future research

To address the remaining challenges facing the Internet of Things and the Internet of Things, extraordinary amounts of research are already being conducted. From multi-layered blockchain security models to graphene-based nanoantennas, future research promises to be diverse and abundant.

Perhaps a fascinating area addressing issues surrounding sensor and nano power sources has found their solution in energy harvesting, where energy is derived from external sources and then converted into useful electrical energy.

Once again, the future of this solution is likely to be firmly rooted in nanotechnology. Phillips, (2021), among other examples, has shown that nanowires in piezoelectric nanogenerators and quantum dots in thermoelectric generators can completely replace terminal IoT and IoNT batteries, enabling massive uptake of the technology while being environmentally friendly and economically viable.

Continue reading: Nanosensors: The Nanoenergy Harvesting Element of the Future.

References and additional reading

Steward, c. (2021) IoT Stats Final List 2021. [online] Findstack. Available at:

Tang, N., Zhou, C., Xu, L., Jiang, Y., Qu, H. and Duan, X., (2019) A fully integrated flexible wireless ammonia sensor synthesized by soft nanolithography. ACS sensors, 4 (3), pp. 726-732. Available at:

Chen, Y., Lu, S., Zhang, S., Li, Y., Qu, Z., Chen, Y., Lu, B., Wang, X. and Feng, X., (2017) Skin- Such as biosensing system via electrochemical channels for non-invasive blood sugar monitoring. science progress, 3 (12). Available at:

Vikesland, P., (2018) Nanosensors for water quality monitoring. Nature’s nanotechnology, 13 (8), pp. 651-660. Available at:

Akhtar, N. and Perwej, Y., (2020) The Nanoscale Internet of Things (IoNT) Current and Future Prospects. GSC . Advanced Research and Reviews5 (2), pp. 131–150. Available at:

Dom, I, (2018) Spray antennas for the Internet of Things. [online] Physicist. Available at:

Matheson, R, (2019) MIT engineers build advanced microprocessors from carbon nanotubes. [online] MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Available at:

Soliman, W., Swathi, C., Yasasvi, T., Keerthi Priya, B. and Akhila Reddy, D., (2021) A-level lithium-ion batteries. Today’s articles: Actions, 42, pp. 429-435. Available at:

Twentyman, J., (2019) IoT sparks racing to replace the battery. [online] financial times. Available at:

Bajwa, H., Rashid, M., Alam, F. and Demidenko, S. (2021) A Blockchain-Based Multilayer Security Architecture for the Internet of Things. sensors21 (3), p. 772. Available at:

Dash, S., Sonny, C, Patnaik, A, Liaskus, C., Petsilides, A. and Akildes, I., (2021) The plasmonic graphene nanobeam in the terahertz wave region. Plasmonics, 16 (5), pp. 1855-1864. Available at:

Phillips, J. (2021) Energy Harvesting in Nanosystems: Powering the Next Generation of the Internet of Things. Frontiers in nanotechnology3. Available at:

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