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Nanotechnology Introduction – What is nanotechnology?

Posted: July 8, 2016 at 7:13 am

A word of caution

Definition of nan’otechnol’ogy n

Human hair fragment and a network of single-walled carbon nanotubes (Image: Jirka Cech)

It seems that a size limitation of nanotechnology to the 1-100 nm range, the area where size-dependant quantum effects come to bear, would exclude numerous materials and devices, especially in the pharamaceutical area, and some experts caution against a rigid definition based on a sub-100 nm size.

Another important criteria for the definition is the requirement that the nano-structure is man-made. Otherwise you would have to include every naturally formed biomolecule and material particle, in effect redefining much of chemistry and molecular biology as ‘nanotechnology.’

The most important requirement for the nanotechnology definition is that the nano-structure has special properties that are exclusively due to its nanoscale proportions.

The U.S. National Nantechnology Initiatve (NNI) provides the following definition:

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.

The design, characterization, production, and application of structures, devices, and systems by controlled manipulation of size and shape at the nanometer scale (atomic, molecular, and macromolecular scale) that produces structures, devices, and systems with at least one novel/superior characteristic or property.

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Nanotechnology Introduction – What is nanotechnology?

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