What is Nanotechnology?
Hardly a new science, nanotechnology was practiced by Nature for over four billion years when it organized matter, subjected to rigorous rules, into complex proteins, sugars and fats. These biomolecules gave rise to the complex world of cells and the life of which we are an integral part. The guiding vision of nanotechnology is atomic precision. In reality, nanotechnology is an enabling technology providing tools for the fabrication, manipulation and control of materials at the atomic level. At the heart of nanotechnologies is a confluence of ideas in chemistry, physics and biology mixed and blended with engineering and medicine. Scientists and engineers have shown an active interest in nanotechnologies because at sizes below 100 nm, the fundamental chemical or electrical properties of materials can change. Although the top and bottom of the nanoscale (ideally ranging from 1 to 100 nm) does not have sharp demarcations, it excludes individual atoms on the lower end and matter that can be seen with a very good optical microscope on the upper end. As far back as the 10th Century, nano gold was used in stained glass and ceramics, however, another 1000 years went by before high-powered microscopes. They made observations at the nanoscale possible which enabled the study of matter at that level allowing nanotechnology to be optimized. Applications of nanotechnology are enabled by nanomaterials, which have novel optical, electric or magnetic properties. The building blocks of nanotechnology are semiconductors, metals, metal oxides, carbon materials and organics. The emerging commercial growth areas in nanotechnology are nanomaterials and nanomaterials processing, nanobiotechnology, software, nanophotonics, nanoelectronics and nanoinstrumentation. Nanomaterials and nanomaterials processing companies develop the materials and methods to manipulate and manufacture products based on nano materials.
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