What is Nanotechnology
Take a random selection of scientists, engineers, investors and the general public and ask them what nanotechnology is and you will receive a range of replies as broad as nanotechnology itself. For many scientists, it is nothing startlingly new; after all we have been working at the nanoscale for decades, through electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopies or simply growing and analysing thin films. For most other groups, however, nanotechnology means something far more ambitious, miniature submarines in the bloodstream, little cogs and gears made out of atoms, space elevators made of nanotubes, and the colonization of space. It is no wonder people often muddle up nanotechnology with science fiction.
Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale.
A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick; a single gold atom is about a third of a nanometer in diameter. Dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers are known as the nanoscale. Unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties can emerge in materials at the nanoscale. These properties may differ in important ways from the properties of bulk materials and single atoms or molecules.