What Is Nanotechnology?

What is nanotechnology? In the most basic of terms, Nanotechnology refers to
the ability of constructing items from the bottom level to higher level. It is
the engineering of functional systems down to the molecular level. There are,
however, many different spins on the terminology.

The United States Nanotechnology Initiative defines Nanotechnology as anything
which has size smaller than 100 nm and should hold novel properties. This
Initiative was created as the shift in Nanotechnology was being made in the
1980’s. In its infancy, Nanotechnology was meant to describe building machines
on the scale of molecules. As it became wider spread and more commonly used in
the world of science, it evolved to include even simpler kinds of
nanometer-scale technology.

Although Nanotechnology became known to most in the 80’s, its origin can be
traced back as far as 1959. It was conceived then as using miniature factories
using Nano-machines to build complex products.  So where are we now in the
world of Nanotechnology? Experts say we are in the midst of creating a roadmap
to further develop the theory of Nanotechnology. Using concepts such as
mechanochemistry to guide molecular machine systems is a pivotal point in
developing this roadmap.

The future of Nanotechnology is uncertain; some experts in the field
theorize that it will create a sort of manufacturing revolution, which raises
concern with economic, social, and environmental factors.

Conflicting definitions of Nanotechnology also cause difficulty in defining
and understanding the basic principles of Nanotechnology. This makes it very
difficult to develop effective policies and a general acceptance among the
science communities. Some refer to Nanotechnology as a general-purpose
technology. Proponents of that idea claim that nanotechnology will offer longer
lasting, better-built and safer products in all areas of everyday life by
creating products that are second to none and by incorporating the use of
dual-purpose technology.