NanoTechnology

Nanotechnology, the science and manipulation of materials at the molecular level, promises to change the way we interact with the world, providing society with a vast spectrum of unique benefits, including:

•  Improved healthcare longer, higher quality of life and extended human physical capabilities
•  Safer, more efficient transportation lighter, faster and safer vehicles and more durable, reliable and cost-effective roads, bridges and rail systems
•  Increased sustainability & cleaner environment improved agricultural yields, more economical water filtration, and desalination, highly efficient solar energy conversion and less pollution
•  Smaller, more powerful technology global integrated circuits, powerful semiconductors and ultraminiaturized components

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology, loosely defined as the study of functional structures with dimensions in the 1-100 nanometer range, is emerging as a distinct and promising field of research. Certainly, many organic chemists have designed and fabricated such structures for decades via chemical synthesis. During the last decade, however, developments in the areas of surface microscopy, silicon fabrication, biochemistry, physical chemistry, and computational engineering have converged to provide remarkable capabilities for understanding, fabricating and manipulating structures at the atomic level.

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.

The Science involved in Nanotechnology:

Nanotechnology draws on many branches of science to provide the required expertise: Chemistry: including inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, drug design and chemical synthesis, surface chemistry, electrochemistry, and the formation of precise three-dimensional nanostructures on surfaces. The latter requires an extremely accurate geometry, which is at present only achieved via chemical and electrochemical etching of surfaces.

The nanoscale:

Nanotechnology derives its name from the size of the objects that it deals with. These are objects that are usually smaller than 100 nanometers. That is one thousand millionth of a meter. Many biological objects lie in the area of nano-scale. However, the nano-scale includes objects at the molecular scale and as a consequence involves the study of single-molecule science.

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