Nanotechnology comprises technological developments on the nanometer scale, usually 0.1 to 100 nm. (One nanometer equals one thousandth of a micrometre or one millionth of a millimetre.) The term has sometimes been applied to microscopic technology. This article discusses nanotechnology, nanoscience, and molecular nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is any technology which exploits phenomena and structures that can only occur at the nanometer scale, which is the scale of single atoms and small molecules. The United States' National Nanotechnology Initiative website defines it as follows: "Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications." Such phenomena include quantum confinement--which can result in different electromagnetic and optical properties of a material between nanoparticles and the bulk material, the Gibbs-Thomson effect--which is the lowering of the melting point of a material when it is nanometers in size, and such structures including carbon nanotubes. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are an extension of the field of materials science, and materials science departments at universities around the world in conjunction with physics, mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and chemical engineering departments are leading the breakthroughs in nanotechnology.
The related term nanoscience is used to describe the interdisciplinary fields of science devoted to the study of nanoscale phenomena employed in nanotechnology. This is the world of atoms, molecules, macromolecules, quantum dots, and macromolecular assemblies, and is dominated by surface effects such as Van der Waals force attraction, hydrogen bonding, electronic charge, ionic bonding, covalent bonding, hydrophobicity, hydrophilicity, and quantum mechanical tunneling, to the virtual exclusion of macro-scale effects such as turbulence and inertia. For example, the vastly increased ratio of surface area to volume opens new possibilities in surface-based science, such as catalysis.
Weblinks various webpages of nanotechnology non profit groups, futurist groups, news services, nanotechnology and space, and personal nanotech websites.
Companies a list of companies doing nanoscale work.
Medical papers, books and articles on biotech applications using nanotechnologies.
Academic labs at universities working on nanoscience.
Tools Software, lab equipment and nanotechnology related tools.
Government links to government nanotechnology research.