The Potential of Nanooptics in the Aerospace Engineering Department of XYZ Corporation By Charles Boritz, Director of the Structural Analysis Team Introduction Nanooptics was the subject of discussion at our latest board meeting, and there were differing opinions as to whether our corporation should pursue this technology. XYZ has long been a leader in innovative technology, and it is my opinion, and the opinion of those on my team,

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The Potential of Nanooptics in the Aerospace Engineering Department of XYZ Corporation

By Charles Boritz, Director of the Structural Analysis Team



Introduction

Nanooptics was the subject of discussion at our latest board meeting, and there were differing

opinions as to whether our corporation should pursue this technology. XYZ has long been a
leader in innovative technology, and it is my opinion, and the opinion of those on my team,
that we should pursue this product. It would be in the best interest of

the Structural Analysis
Team and the Aerospace Engineering Department to have nanooptic technology.



Nanooptics and High Resolution Scanning

The Structural Analysis Team is responsible for the durability and functionality of high
-
stress
structures in all

applications. As such, we frequently conduct non
-
destructive inspections of
critical components, searching for small defects. Using flourescent penetrant techniques (PT),
one of the oldest methods of non
-
destructive inspection, we can detect surface fla
ws of up to
0.003 mm in size [1]. This technique is time consuming and hazardous because of the
penetrant chemicals, developers, and cleaners required to perform the test. Eddy
-
current
(EC) and ultrasonic techniques (UT) are faster and safer, however fla
w detection is limited to
0.05 mm for EC and 0.3 mm for UT [2].


While these resolutions are adequate, preliminary research into the resolution scale of
nanooptic sensing supercedes them all, having a resolution of <40 nm [3]. With the ability to
detect f
laws of this size, it would enable the Aerospace Engineering Department to close
-
tolerance engineer critical parts. This would cut down expenditures on materials, improve
efficiency of the structure in terms of weight, and increase the safety of the stru
cture.


Nanooptics has other benefits to the Aerospace Department, one of which is the generation of
nanofilm polarizers and filters, which can greatly improve the canopies and windows of
aircraft by cutting glare. In addition, this same technology can be

used to assemble
miniaturized cameras by bringing the lens assembly closer to the sensor, and allowing one or
more optical substrates to be eliminated, saving on weight [4]. This has applications in the
consumer electronics field in addition to the use o
n reconaissance aircraft and satellites.











Boritz
2

The Ethics of Nanotechnology and Nanooptics

There are many ethical considerations when it comes to nanotechnology. For instance, in the
paper “The Ethical and Societal Impact of Nanotechnology [5],” it is

stated that:


…some issues are emerging that appear unique to nanotechnology, namely the new
environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks arising nanomaterials. For instance, research
studies suggest that some nanoparticles are directly harmful to anima
ls, and because they can
be taken up by cells, they might enter our food chain to unknown effects on human
health.[14] Other research asks whether carbon nanotubes will be the next asbestos, since
both have the same whisker
-
like shape that makes it so diff
icult to purge from our lungs if
inhaled.[15] And the flip side of creating super
-
strong materials such as carbon nanotubes is
their fate at the end of a product life
-
cycle: will these materials persist indefinitely in our
landfills, as is the case with St
yrofoam or nuclear waste?[16]


Because of these concerns, I recommend implementing rigid manufacturing controls to
prevent contamination of the environment and that we conduct research to answer these
questions.


However, privacy is probably the biggest co
ncern when it comes to the field of nanooptics.
With the development of technology that can shrink sensing devices to an undetectible scale,
the concern is the abuse of these devices [5]. Because of this, I believe it is in the best interest
of XYZ Corpo
ration to therefore limit the pursuit of nanooptics to polarizing and filtering
films and nanoscale resolution sensors. We can conduct research into the ethical application
of these technologies in consumer devices before making the decision to mass marke
t them.
It would benefit us to communicate with Nanoethics.org and familiarize ourselves with their
work.



Conclusion

If we do not pursue nanooptics, XYZ Corporation will fall behind in the global economy.
Countries such as China, Korea, Japan, and Brit
ain are researching these technologies; in fact,
many developing countries are also researching nanotechnology [6]. In order to maintain our
reputation as an innovative company and to stay competitive, I strongly urge that we pursue
this technology. I al
so feel that it will lay the groundwork for further growth, opening new
doors into other nanotechnology disciplines.











Boritz
3

Works Cited

[1]

B. Larson,
Study of the Factors Affecting the Sensitivity of Liquid Penetrant
Inspections: Review of Literature
Published from 1970 to 1998
,

Springfield, VA:
National Technical Information Service, Final Report, 2002.


[2]

Delft University of Technology, “Non
-
Destr Inspection”

[online document], 2007,
[cited 2007 Feb 22], Available HTTP:
http://www.lr.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=f2ddf87f
-
fca4
-
40b0
-
a2b8
-
db3aa63f3c62&lang=en


[3]

E. Hasma and V. Kleiner, “Color Coded Optical Profilometry with >10
6
Resolved
Depth Steps,”
Applied Optics
,

vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 1609
-
1616


[4]

H. Kostal, “Q&A: Nano
-
Optics for Camera Applications,” in
NASA Tech Briefs
.
Associated Business Publications.


[5]

F. Alhoff and P. Lin, “What’s So Special About Nanotechnology and Nano
ethics?”
International Journal of Applied Philosophy
, vol. 20, no. 10, pp. 179
-
190.


[6]

UNESCO,
The Ethics and Politics of Nanotechnology
, Paris: UNESCO, 2006
.