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Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an
atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atom ...

atom
ic,
molecular A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically neutral group of two or more atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In ...
, and
supramolecularSupramolecular chemistry refers to the area of chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, prope ...
scale for industrial purposes. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as
molecular nanotechnology is a protein complex is a protein complex functioning as a molecular biological machine A molecular machine, nanite, or nanomachine is a molecular component that produces quasi-mechanical movements (output) in response to specific stimuli (inp ...
. A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the
National Nanotechnology Initiative The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a research and development Research is " creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization, and analysis of information to ...
, which defined nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100
nanometers one nanometric Scanning_Tunneling_Microscope.html"_;"title="carbon_nano_tube,_photographed_with_Scanning_Tunneling_Microscope">carbon_nano_tube,_photographed_with_Scanning_Tunneling_Microscope_ file:EM_Spectrum_Properties_edit.svg.html" ;"title= ...
. This definition reflects the fact that
quantum mechanical Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with ...
effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter which occur below the given size threshold. It is therefore common to see the plural form "nanotechnologies" as well as "nanoscale technologies" to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Nanotechnology as defined by size is naturally broad, including fields of science as diverse as
surface science 250px, STM image of a self-assembled_supramolecular.html" ;"title="self-assembly.html" ;"title="adsorbate.html" ;"title="quinacridone adsorbate">quinacridone adsorbate. The self-assembly">self-assembled supramolecular">self-assembly.html" ;"ti ...

surface science
,
organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a branch of that studies the structure, properties and reactions of s, which contain in .Clayden, J.; Greeves, N. and Warren, S. (2012) ''Organic Chemistry''. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–15. . Study of structure determ ...
,
molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology that seeks to understand the molecule, molecular basis of biological activity in and between Cell (biology), cells, including biomolecule, molecular synthesis, modification, mechanisms, and interaction ...
,
semiconductor physics A semiconductor material has an electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a electrical conductor, conductor, such as metallic copper, and an insulator (electricity), insulator, such as glass. ...
,
energy storage Energy storage is the capture of energy In physics, energy is the physical quantity, quantitative physical property, property that must be #Energy transfer, transferred to a physical body, body or physical system to perform Work (thermody ...

energy storage
,
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specializ ...

engineering
,
microfabrication Microfabrication is the process of manufacturing, fabricating miniature structures of micrometre scales and smaller. Historically, the earliest microfabrication processes were used for integrated circuit fabrication, also known as "semiconductor man ...
, and
molecular engineering A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically neutral group of two or more atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In ...
. The associated research and applications are equally diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional
device physics A device is usually a constructed tool. Device may also refer to: Technology Computing * Device, a colloquial term encompassing desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. * Device file, an interface of a device driver * Peripheral, any device ...
to completely new approaches based upon
molecular self-assembly 220px, Non-contact atomic force microscopy, NC-AFM imaging of the molecular self-assembly process of 2-aminoterephthalic acid molecules on calcite(104). Molecular self-assembly is the process by which molecules adopt a defined arrangement withou ...

molecular self-assembly
, from developing
new materials
new materials
with dimensions on the nanoscale to direct control of matter on the atomic scale. Scientists currently debate the future
implications of nanotechnology The impact of nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has ...
. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of
applications Application may refer to: Mathematics and computing * Application software, computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks ** Application layer, an abstraction layer that specifies protocols and interface methods used in a co ...
, such as in
nanomedicine Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atomic, molecular, and Supramolecular complex, supramolecular scale for industrial purposes. The earliest, w ...
,
nanoelectronics Nanoelectronics refers to the use of nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atomic, molecular, and Supramolecular complex, supramolecular scale for industrial purposes. The earliest, widespread de ...
,
biomaterial A biomaterial is a substance that has been engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose, either a therapeutic (treat, augment, repair, or replace a tissue function of the body) or a diagnostic one. As a science, biomateria ...
s energy production, and consumer products. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the
toxicity Toxicity is the degree to which a chemical substance or a particular mixture of substances can damage an organism. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacteria, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on ...

toxicity
and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special
regulation of nanotechnology Because of the ongoing controversy on the implications of nanotechnology, there is significant debate concerning whether nanotechnology or nanotechnology-based List of nanotechnology applications, products merit special government regulation. Thi ...
is warranted.


Origins

The concepts that seeded nanotechnology were first discussed in 1959 by renowned physicist
Richard Feynman Richard Phillips Feynman (; May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation The path integral formulation is a description in quantum mechanics Quantum mech ...

Richard Feynman
in his talk ''
There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom: An Invitation to Enter a New Field of Physics" was a lecture given by physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledg ...
'', in which he described the possibility of synthesis via direct manipulation of atoms. The term "nano-technology" was first used by
Norio Taniguchi was a professor of Tokyo University of Science. He coined the term ''nanotechnology , nano-technology'' in 1974 N. Taniguchi, "On the Basic Concept of 'Nano-Technology'," Proc. Intl. Conf. Prod. Eng. Tokyo, Part II, Japan Society of Precision Eng ...
in 1974, though it was not widely known. Inspired by Feynman's concepts, K. Eric Drexler used the term "nanotechnology" in his 1986 book '' Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology'', which proposed the idea of a nanoscale "assembler" which would be able to build a copy of itself and of other items of arbitrary complexity with atomic control. Also in 1986, Drexler co-founded
The Foresight Institute The Foresight Institute is a Palo Alto, California-based research nonprofit organization, non-profit that promotes the development of nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. The institute holds conferences on molecular nanotechnology and a ...
(with which he is no longer affiliated) to help increase public awareness and understanding of nanotechnology concepts and implications. The emergence of nanotechnology as a field in the 1980s occurred through convergence of Drexler's theoretical and public work, which developed and popularized a conceptual framework for nanotechnology, and high-visibility experimental advances that drew additional wide-scale attention to the prospects of atomic control of matter. In the 1980s, two major breakthroughs sparked the growth of nanotechnology in the modern era. First, the invention of the
scanning tunneling microscope A scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is a type of microscope used for imaging surfaces at the atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and ...
in 1981 which provided unprecedented visualization of individual atoms and bonds, and was successfully used to manipulate individual atoms in 1989. The microscope's developers
Gerd Binnig Gerd Binnig (born 20 July 1947) is a German physicist. He is most famous for having won the Nobel Prize in Physics ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in pro ...
and
Heinrich Rohrer Heinrich Rohrer (6 June 1933 – 16 May 2013) was a Swiss physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of interest. In ...
at
IBM Zurich Research Laboratory IBM Research is the research and development division for IBM, an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. IBM Research is the largest industrial research o ...
received a
Nobel Prize in Physics The Nobel Prize in Physics is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for mankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will ...
in 1986. Binnig, Quate and Gerber also invented the analogous
atomic force microscope Atomic force microscopy (AFM) or scanning force microscopy (SFM) is a very-high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is a branch of microscopy that forms images of surfaces using a physical probe that scans ...
that year. Second,
fullerenes A fullerene is an allotrope of carbon whose molecule consists of carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical el ...
were discovered in 1985 by
Harry Kroto Sir Harold Walter Kroto (born Harold Walter Krotoschiner; 7 October 1939 – 30 April 2016), known as Harry Kroto, was an English chemist. He shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley for their discovery ...

Harry Kroto
,
Richard Smalley Richard Errett Smalley (June 6, 1943 – October 28, 2005) was the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed o ...

Richard Smalley
, and
Robert Curl Robert Floyd Curl Jr. (born August 23, 1933) is a University emeritus professor, Professor Emeritus, Pitzer–Schlumberger Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus, and Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Rice University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize ...
, who together won the 1996
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , alt = A golden medallion with an embossed image of a bearded man facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "MD ...
. C60 was not initially described as nanotechnology; the term was used regarding subsequent work with related
carbon nanotube image of a single-walled carbon nanotube. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are tubes made of carbon with diameters typically measured in nanometers The nanometre (international spelling as used by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures; SI ...

carbon nanotube
s (sometimes called
graphene Graphene () is an allotrope of carbon Carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an ...

graphene
tubes or Bucky tubes) which suggested potential applications for nanoscale electronics and devices. The discovery of
carbon nanotubes image of a single-walled carbon nanotube. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are tubes made of carbon with diameters typically measured in nanometers. Carbon nanotubes often refer to single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with diameters in the range of ...

carbon nanotubes
is largely attributed to
Sumio Iijima is a Japanese physicist and inventor, often cited as the inventor of carbon nanotube image of a single-walled carbon nanotube. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are tubes made of carbon with diameters typically measured in nanometers. Carbon nanotu ...
of
NEC is a Japanese multinational information technology and electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...
in 1991, for which Iijima won the inaugural 2008
Kavli Prize The Kavli Prize was established in 2005 through a joint venture between the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and Kavli Foundation (United States), The Kavli Foundation. The main object ...
in Nanoscience. A nanolayer-base metal–semiconductor junction (M–S junction)
transistor upright=1.4, gate Candi bentar, a typical Indonesian gate that is often found on the islands of Java">Indonesia.html" ;"title="Candi bentar, a typical Indonesia">Candi bentar, a typical Indonesian gate that is often found on the islands o ...

transistor
was initially proposed by A. Rose in 1960, and fabricated by L. Geppert,
Mohamed Atalla Mohamed M. Atalla ( ar, محمد عطاالله; August 4, 1924 – December 30, 2009) was an Egyptian-American engineer, physical chemist Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic The macroscopic scale is the length scale on which ...
and
Dawon Kahng Dawon Kahng ( ko, 강대원; May 4, 1931 – May 13, 1992) was a Korean-American electrical engineer and inventor, known for his work in solid-state electronics Solid-state electronics means semiconductor A semiconductor material has an el ...

Dawon Kahng
in 1962. Decades later, advances in
multi-gate A multigate device, multi-gate MOSFET or multi-gate field-effect transistor (MuGFET) refers to a metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) that incorporates more than one gate into a single device. The multiple gates may be c ...
technology enabled the
scaling Scaling may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics and physics * Scaling (geometry), a linear transformation that enlarges or diminishes objects * Scale invariance, a feature of objects or laws that do not change if scales of length, energy ...
of
metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS transistor, or MOS), is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor that is fabricated by th ...
(MOSFET) devices down to nano-scale levels smaller than 20 nm gate length, starting with the
FinFET A fin field-effect transistor (FinFET) is a multigate device, a MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) built on a Wafer (electronics), substrate where the gate is placed on two, three, or four sides of the channel or wrapped ar ...
(fin field-effect transistor), a three-dimensional, non-planar, double-gate MOSFET. At
UC Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the tota ...

UC Berkeley
, a team of researchers including Digh Hisamoto,
Chenming Hu Chenming Calvin Hu (; born 1947) is a Taiwanese-American electronic engineer who specializes in microelectronics Microelectronics is a subfield of electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that d ...
, Tsu-Jae King Liu, Jeffrey Bokor and others fabricated FinFET devices down to a 17nm process in 1998, then 15nm in 2001, and then 10nm in 2002. In the early 2000s, the field garnered increased scientific, political, and commercial attention that led to both controversy and progress. Controversies emerged regarding the definitions and potential implications of nanotechnologies, exemplified by the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exis ...
's report on nanotechnology. Challenges were raised regarding the feasibility of applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology, which culminated in a public debate between Drexler and Smalley in 2001 and 2003. Meanwhile, commercialization of products based on advancements in nanoscale technologies began emerging. These products are limited to bulk applications of
nanomaterials * Nanomaterials describe, in principle, material A material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemic ...

nanomaterials
and do not involve atomic control of matter. Some examples include the
Silver Nano Silver Nano (''Silver Nano Health System'') is a trademark name of an antibacterial technology which uses silver nanoparticles in washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners introduced by Samsung Group, Sa ...
platform for using silver nanoparticles as an antibacterial agent,
nanoparticle A nanoparticle or ultrafine particle is usually defined as a particle of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched ...

nanoparticle
-based transparent sunscreens,
carbon fiber Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to ...
strengthening using silica nanoparticles, and carbon nanotubes for stain-resistant textiles. Governments moved to promote and fund research into nanotechnology, such as in the U.S. with the
National Nanotechnology Initiative The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a research and development Research is " creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization, and analysis of information to ...
, which formalized a size-based definition of nanotechnology and established funding for research on the nanoscale, and in Europe via the European
Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development The Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, also called Framework Programmes or abbreviated FP1 to FP9, are funding programmes created by the European Union/European Commission to support and foster research in the European ...
. By the mid-2000s new and serious scientific attention began to flourish. Projects emerged to produce nanotechnology roadmaps which center on atomically precise manipulation of matter and discuss existing and projected capabilities, goals, and applications. In 2006, a team of Korean researchers from the
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology KAIST (formally the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) is a national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a commo ...
(KAIST) and the National Nano Fab Center developed a 3 nm MOSFET, the world's smallest
nanoelectronic Nanoelectronics refers to the use of nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atomic, molecular, and Supramolecular complex, supramolecular scale for industrial purposes. The earliest, widespread de ...
device. It was based on
gate-all-around A multigate device, multi-gate MOSFET or multi-gate field-effect transistor (MuGFET) refers to a metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) that incorporates more than one gate (transistor), gate into a single device. The multip ...
(GAA) FinFET technology. Over sixty countries created nanotechnology
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geogra ...
(R&D) government programs between 2001 and 2004. Government funding was exceeded by corporate spending on nanotechnology R&D, with most of the funding coming from corporations based in the United States, Japan and Germany. The top five organizations that filed the most intellectual
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
s on nanotechnology R&D between 1970 and 2011 were
Samsung Electronics Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (; lit. "tristar electronics", sometimes shortened to SEC and stylized as SΛMSUNG) is a South Korean multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in ...
(2,578 first patents),
Nippon Steel , was formed in 2012 by the merger of the old Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal. was established in 1970 by the merger of Fuji Iron & Steel and Yawata Iron & Steel. Nippon Steel is the world's third largest steel producer by volume as of 2019. ...
(1,490 first patents),
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
(1,360 first patents),
Toshiba is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign st ...
(1,298 first patents) and
Canon Canon or Canons may refer to: Places * Canon, Georgia Canon is a city in Franklin County, Georgia, Franklin and Hart County, Georgia, Hart counties in the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. The population was 804 at the 2010 census. His ...
(1,162 first patents). The top five organizations that published the most scientific papers on nanotechnology research between 1970 and 2012 were the
Chinese Academy of Sciences The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS; ) is the national academy#REDIRECT National academy A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research ...
,
Russian Academy of Sciences The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS; russian: Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к (РАН) ''Rossíiskaya akadémiya naúk'') consists of the national academy#REDIRECT National academy A national academy is an organizational bo ...
,
Centre national de la recherche scientifique Pushing boundaries , formation = , type = Governmental organisation , purpose = Fundamental research , headquarters = Campus Gérard Mégie, 16th arrondissement of Paris , language = French , leader_title = President , leader_name = An ...
,
University of Tokyo , abbreviated as or UTokyo, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government a ...
and
Osaka University , abbreviated as , is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociolo ...
.


Fundamental concepts

Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced. In its original sense, nanotechnology refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high-performance products. One
nanometer file:EM Spectrum Properties edit.svg, 330px, Different lengths as in respect to the Electromagnetic spectrum, measured by the Metre and its derived scales. The nanometre is often used to express dimensions on an atomic scale and mostly in the Mo ...
(nm) is one billionth, or 10−9, of a meter. By comparison, typical carbon-carbon
bond length Bond or bonds may refer to: Common meanings * Bond (finance) In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and management of ...
s, or the spacing between these
atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atom ...

atom
s in a
molecule A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon ...

molecule
, are in the range , and a
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical ...

DNA
double-helix has a diameter around 2 nm. On the other hand, the smallest cellular life-forms, the bacteria of the genus ''
Mycoplasma ''Mycoplasma'' (plural mycoplasmas or mycoplasmata) is a genus of bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are a type of Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain of prokary ...
'', are around 200 nm in length. By convention, nanotechnology is taken as the scale range following the definition used by the National Nanotechnology Initiative in the US. The lower limit is set by the size of atoms (hydrogen has the smallest atoms, which are approximately a quarter of a nm kinetic diameter) since nanotechnology must build its devices from atoms and molecules. The upper limit is more or less arbitrary but is around the size below which the phenomena not observed in larger structures start to become apparent and can be made use of in the nano device. These new phenomena make nanotechnology distinct from devices which are merely miniaturised versions of an equivalent
macroscopic The macroscopic scale is the length scale on which objects or phenomena are large enough to be visible with the naked eye, without magnifying optical instruments. It is the opposite of microscopic The microscopic scale (from , ''mikrós'', "sm ...
device; such devices are on a larger scale and come under the description of
microtechnology Microtechnology deals with technology whose features have dimensions of the order of one micrometre (one millionth of a metre, or 10−6 metre, or 1μm). It focuses on physical and chemical processes as well as the production or manipulation of stru ...
. To put that scale in another context, the comparative size of a nanometer to a meter is the same as that of a marble to the size of the earth. Or another way of putting it: a nanometer is the amount an average man's beard grows in the time it takes him to raise the razor to his face. Two main approaches are used in nanotechnology. In the "bottom-up" approach, materials and devices are built from molecular components which chemically by principles of
molecular recognition through hydrogen bonds The term molecular recognition refers to the specific interaction between two or more molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear cha ...
. In the "top-down" approach, nano-objects are constructed from larger entities without atomic-level control. Areas of physics such as
nanoelectronics Nanoelectronics refers to the use of nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atomic, molecular, and Supramolecular complex, supramolecular scale for industrial purposes. The earliest, widespread de ...
,
nanomechanics Nanomechanics is a branch of ''nanoscience'' studying fundamental ''mechanical'' (elastic, thermal and kinetic) properties of physical systems at the nanometer scale. Nanomechanics has emerged on the crossroads of biophysics, classical mechanics, so ...
,
nanophotonics Nanophotonics or nano-optics is the study of the behavior of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light ...
and nanoionics have evolved during the last few decades to provide a basic scientific foundation of nanotechnology.


Larger to smaller: a materials perspective

Several phenomena become pronounced as the size of the system decreases. These include statistical mechanical effects, as well as
quantum mechanical Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory A theory is a rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, ...
effects, for example the "
quantum In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. ...

quantum
size effect" where the electronic properties of solids are altered with great reductions in particle size. This effect does not come into play by going from macro to micro dimensions. However, quantum effects can become significant when the nanometer size range is reached, typically at distances of 100 nanometers or less, the so-called
quantum realm Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with ...
. Additionally, a number of physical (mechanical, electrical, optical, etc.) properties change when compared to macroscopic systems. One example is the increase in surface area to volume ratio altering mechanical, thermal and catalytic properties of materials. Diffusion and reactions at nanoscale, nanostructures materials and nanodevices with fast ion transport are generally referred to nanoionics. ''Mechanical'' properties of nanosystems are of interest in the nanomechanics research. The catalytic activity of nanomaterials also opens potential risks in their interaction with
biomaterial A biomaterial is a substance that has been engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose, either a therapeutic (treat, augment, repair, or replace a tissue function of the body) or a diagnostic one. As a science, biomateria ...
s. Materials reduced to the nanoscale can show different properties compared to what they exhibit on a macroscale, enabling unique applications. For instance, opaque substances can become transparent (copper); stable materials can turn combustible (aluminium); insoluble materials may become soluble (gold). A material such as gold, which is chemically inert at normal scales, can serve as a potent chemical
catalyst Catalysis () is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In cla ...

catalyst
at nanoscales. Much of the fascination with nanotechnology stems from these quantum and surface phenomena that matter exhibits at the nanoscale.


Simple to complex: a molecular perspective

Modern
synthetic chemistry In chemistry, chemical synthesis (or combination) is the artificial execution of useful chemical reactions to obtain one or several product (chemistry), products. This occurs by physics, physical and chemical manipulations usually involving one or ...
has reached the point where it is possible to prepare small molecules to almost any structure. These methods are used today to manufacture a wide variety of useful chemicals such as
pharmaceuticals A medication (also called medicament, medicine, pharmaceutical drug, medicinal drug or simply drug) is a drug used to medical diagnosis, diagnose, cure, therapy, treat, or preventive medicine, prevent disease. Drug therapy (pharmacotherapy) ...

pharmaceuticals
or commercial
polymer A polymer (; Greek ''poly- Poly, from the Greek :wikt:πολύς, πολύς meaning "many" or "much", may refer to: Businesses * China Poly Group Corporation, a Chinese business group, and its subsidiaries: ** Poly Property, a Hong Kong inc ...

polymer
s. This ability raises the question of extending this kind of control to the next-larger level, seeking methods to assemble these single molecules into
supramolecular assemblies File:Supramolecular Assembly Lehn.jpg, thumbnail, Circular helicate Fe5L5)Cl+, where L stands for s tris-bpy ligand strand; the central gray atom is Cl, while the smaller gray spheres are Fe. A supramolecular assembly is a complex of molecules ...
consisting of many molecules arranged in a well defined manner. These approaches utilize the concepts of molecular self-assembly and/or
supramolecular chemistrySupramolecular chemistry refers to the area of chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, prope ...
to automatically arrange themselves into some useful conformation through a approach. The concept of molecular recognition is especially important: molecules can be designed so that a specific configuration or arrangement is favored due to
non-covalentA non-covalent interaction differs from a covalent bond in that it does not involve the sharing of electrons, but rather involves more dispersed variations of electromagnetic interactions between molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A s ...
intermolecular force An intermolecular force (IMF) (or secondary force) is the force that mediates interaction between molecules, including the Electromagnetism, electromagnetic forces of attraction or repulsion which act between atoms and other types of neighboring pa ...

intermolecular force
s. The Watson–Crick basepairing rules are a direct result of this, as is the specificity of an
enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts (biocatalysts). Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrate (chemistry), substrates, and the enzyme converts the substrates in ...

enzyme
being targeted to a single
substrate Substrate may refer to: Physical layers *Substrate (biology), the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the surface or medium on which an organism grows or is attached **Substrate (locomotion), the surface over which an organism loco ...
, or the specific itself. Thus, two or more components can be designed to be complementary and mutually attractive so that they make a more complex and useful whole. Such bottom-up approaches should be capable of producing devices in parallel and be much cheaper than top-down methods, but could potentially be overwhelmed as the size and complexity of the desired assembly increases. Most useful structures require complex and thermodynamically unlikely arrangements of atoms. Nevertheless, there are many examples of self-assembly based on molecular recognition in
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
, most notably Watson–Crick basepairing and enzyme-substrate interactions. The challenge for nanotechnology is whether these principles can be used to engineer new constructs in addition to natural ones.


Molecular nanotechnology: a long-term view

Molecular nanotechnology, sometimes called molecular manufacturing, describes engineered nanosystems (nanoscale machines) operating on the molecular scale. Molecular nanotechnology is especially associated with the
molecular assembler A molecular assembler, as defined by K. Eric Drexler, is a "proposed device able to guide chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically ...
, a machine that can produce a desired structure or device atom-by-atom using the principles of
mechanosynthesis Mechanosynthesis is a term for hypothetical chemical syntheses in which reaction outcomes are determined by the use of mechanical constraints to direct reactive molecules to specific molecular sites. There are presently no non-biological chemical ...
. Manufacturing in the context of productive nanosystems is not related to, and should be clearly distinguished from, the conventional technologies used to manufacture nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles. When the term "nanotechnology" was independently coined and popularized by Eric Drexler (who at the time was unaware of an History of nanotechnology, earlier usage by Norio Taniguchi) it referred to a future manufacturing technology based on molecular machine systems. The premise was that molecular-scale biological analogies of traditional machine components demonstrated molecular machines were possible: by the countless examples found in biology, it is known that sophisticated, stochastically optimized Molecular machine#Biological, biological machines can be produced. It is hoped that developments in nanotechnology will make possible their construction by some other means, perhaps using biomimetic principles. However, Drexler and other researchers have proposed that advanced nanotechnology, although perhaps initially implemented by biomimetic means, ultimately could be based on mechanical engineering principles, namely, a manufacturing technology based on the mechanical functionality of these components (such as gears, bearings, motors, and structural members) that would enable programmable, positional assembly to atomic specification. The physics and engineering performance of exemplar designs were analyzed in Drexler's book ''Nanosystems''. In general it is very difficult to assemble devices on the atomic scale, as one has to position atoms on other atoms of comparable size and stickiness. Another view, put forth by Carlo Montemagno, is that future nanosystems will be hybrids of silicon technology and biological molecular machines. Richard Smalley argued that mechanosynthesis are impossible due to the difficulties in mechanically manipulating individual molecules. This led to an exchange of letters in the American Chemical Society, ACS publication Chemical & Engineering News in 2003. Though biology clearly demonstrates that molecular machine systems are possible, non-biological molecular machines are today only in their infancy. Leaders in research on non-biological molecular machines are Dr. Alex Zettl and his colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories and UC Berkele

They have constructed at least three distinct molecular devices whose motion is controlled from the desktop with changing voltage: a nanotube nanomotor, a molecular actuator, and a nanoelectromechanical relaxation oscillator. See nanotube nanomotor for more examples. An experiment indicating that positional molecular assembly is possible was performed by Ho and Lee at Cornell University in 1999. They used a scanning tunneling microscope to move an individual carbon monoxide molecule (CO) to an individual iron atom (Fe) sitting on a flat silver crystal, and chemically bound the CO to the Fe by applying a voltage.


Current research


Nanomaterials

The nanomaterials field includes subfields which develop or study materials having unique properties arising from their nanoscale dimensions. *Interface and colloid science has given rise to many materials which may be useful in nanotechnology, such as carbon nanotubes and other fullerenes, and various nanoparticles and nanorods. Nanomaterials with fast ion transport are related also to nanoionics and nanoelectronics. *Nanoscale materials can also be used for bulk applications; most present commercial applications of nanotechnology are of this flavor. *Progress has been made in using these materials for medical applications; see Nanomedicine. *Nanoscale materials such as nanopillars are sometimes used in solar cells which combats the cost of traditional silicon solar cells. *Development of applications incorporating semiconductor
nanoparticle A nanoparticle or ultrafine particle is usually defined as a particle of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched ...

nanoparticle
s to be used in the next generation of products, such as display technology, lighting, solar cells and biological imaging; see quantum dots. *Recent application of
nanomaterials * Nanomaterials describe, in principle, material A material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemic ...

nanomaterials
include a range of biomedical applications, such as tissue engineering, drug delivery, antibacterials and biosensors.


Bottom-up approaches

These seek to arrange smaller components into more complex assemblies. *DNA nanotechnology utilizes the specificity of Watson–Crick basepairing to construct well-defined structures out of DNA and other nucleic acids. *Approaches from the field of "classical" chemical synthesis (Inorganic and organic synthesis) also aim at designing molecules with well-defined shape (e.g. bis-peptides). *More generally, molecular self-assembly seeks to use concepts of supramolecular chemistry, and molecular recognition in particular, to cause single-molecule components to automatically arrange themselves into some useful conformation. *Atomic force microscope tips can be used as a nanoscale "write head" to deposit a chemical upon a surface in a desired pattern in a process called dip pen nanolithography. This technique fits into the larger subfield of nanolithography. *Molecular Beam Epitaxy allows for bottom up assemblies of materials, most notably semiconductor materials commonly used in chip and computing applications, stacks, gating, and nanowire lasers.


Top-down approaches

These seek to create smaller devices by using larger ones to direct their assembly. *Many technologies that descended from conventional Semiconductor fabrication, solid-state silicon methods for fabricating microprocessors are now capable of creating features smaller than 100 nm, falling under the definition of nanotechnology. Giant magnetoresistance-based hard drives already on the market fit this description, as do atomic layer deposition (ALD) techniques. Peter Grünberg and Albert Fert received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007 for their discovery of Giant magnetoresistance and contributions to the field of spintronics. *Solid-state techniques can also be used to create devices known as nanoelectromechanical systems or NEMS, which are related to microelectromechanical systems or MEMS. *Focused ion beams can directly remove material, or even deposit material when suitable precursor gasses are applied at the same time. For example, this technique is used routinely to create sub-100 nm sections of material for analysis in Transmission electron microscopy. *Atomic force microscope tips can be used as a nanoscale "write head" to deposit a resist, which is then followed by an etching process to remove material in a top-down method.


Functional approaches

These seek to develop components of a desired functionality without regard to how they might be assembled. *Magnetic assembly for the synthesis of anisotropic superparamagnetic materials such as recently presented magnetic nano chains. *Molecular scale electronics seeks to develop molecules with useful electronic properties. These could then be used as single-molecule components in a nanoelectronic device. For an example see rotaxane. *Synthetic chemical methods can also be used to create synthetic molecular motors, such as in a so-called nanocar.


Biomimetic approaches

* Bionics or biomimicry seeks to apply biological methods and systems found in nature, to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. Biomineralization is one example of the systems studied. * Bionanotechnology is the use of biomolecules for applications in nanotechnology, including use of viruses and lipid assemblies. Nanocellulose is a potential bulk-scale application.


Speculative

These subfields seek to Futures studies, anticipate what inventions nanotechnology might yield, or attempt to propose an agenda along which inquiry might progress. These often take a big-picture view of nanotechnology, with more emphasis on its societal implications than the details of how such inventions could actually be created. *Molecular nanotechnology is a proposed approach which involves manipulating single molecules in finely controlled, deterministic ways. This is more theoretical than the other subfields, and many of its proposed techniques are beyond current capabilities. *Nanorobotics centers on self-sufficient machines of some functionality operating at the nanoscale. There are hopes for applying nanorobots in medicine. Nevertheless, progress on innovative materials and methodologies has been demonstrated with some patents granted about new nanomanufacturing devices for future commercial applications, which also progressively helps in the development towards nanorobots with the use of embedded nanobioelectronics concepts. *Productive nanosystems are "systems of nanosystems" which will be complex nanosystems that produce atomically precise parts for other nanosystems, not necessarily using novel nanoscale-emergent properties, but well-understood fundamentals of manufacturing. Because of the discrete (i.e. atomic) nature of matter and the possibility of exponential growth, this stage is seen as the basis of another industrial revolution. Mihail Roco, one of the architects of the USA's National Nanotechnology Initiative, has proposed four states of nanotechnology that seem to parallel the technical progress of the Industrial Revolution, progressing from passive nanostructures to active nanodevices to complex nanomachines and ultimately to productive nanosystems. *Programmable matter seeks to design materials whose properties can be easily, reversibly and externally controlled though a fusion of information science and materials science. *Due to the popularity and media exposure of the term nanotechnology, the words picotechnology and femtotechnology have been coined in analogy to it, although these are only used rarely and informally.


Dimensionality in nanomaterials

Nanomaterials can be classified in 0D, 1D, 2D and 3D
nanomaterials * Nanomaterials describe, in principle, material A material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemic ...

nanomaterials
. The dimensionality play a major role in determining the characteristic of nanomaterials including :wikt:physical, physical, chemical and biological characteristics. With the decrease in dimensionality, an increase in surface-to-volume ratio is observed. This indicate that smaller dimensional
nanomaterials * Nanomaterials describe, in principle, material A material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemic ...

nanomaterials
have higher surface area compared to 3D nanomaterials. Recently, two dimensional (2D) nanomaterials are extensively investigated for electronics, electronic, biomedical, drug delivery and biosensor applications.


Tools and techniques

There are several important modern developments. The
atomic force microscope Atomic force microscopy (AFM) or scanning force microscopy (SFM) is a very-high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is a branch of microscopy that forms images of surfaces using a physical probe that scans ...
(AFM) and the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) are two early versions of scanning probes that launched nanotechnology. There are other types of scanning probe microscopy. Although conceptually similar to the scanning confocal microscope developed by Marvin Minsky in 1961 and the scanning acoustic microscope (SAM) developed by Calvin Quate and coworkers in the 1970s, newer scanning probe microscopes have much higher resolution, since they are not limited by the wavelength of sound or light. The tip of a scanning probe can also be used to manipulate nanostructures (a process called positional assembly). Feature-oriented scanning methodology may be a promising way to implement these nanomanipulations in automatic mode. However, this is still a slow process because of low scanning velocity of the microscope. Various techniques of nanolithography such as optical lithography, X-ray lithography, dip pen nanolithography, electron beam lithography or nanoimprint lithography were also developed. Lithography is a top-down fabrication technique where a bulk material is reduced in size to nanoscale pattern. Another group of nanotechnological techniques include those used for fabrication of Ion track technology (track etching), nanotubes and Ion track technology (track replication), nanowires, those used in semiconductor fabrication such as deep ultraviolet lithography, electron beam lithography, focused ion beam machining, nanoimprint lithography, atomic layer deposition, and molecular vapor deposition, and further including molecular self-assembly techniques such as those employing di-block copolymers. The precursors of these techniques preceded the nanotech era, and are extensions in the development of scientific advancements rather than techniques which were devised with the sole purpose of creating nanotechnology and which were results of nanotechnology research. The top-down approach anticipates nanodevices that must be built piece by piece in stages, much as manufactured items are made. Scanning probe microscopy is an important technique both for characterization and synthesis of nanomaterials. Atomic force microscopes and scanning tunneling microscopes can be used to look at surfaces and to move atoms around. By designing different tips for these microscopes, they can be used for carving out structures on surfaces and to help guide self-assembling structures. By using, for example, feature-oriented scanning approach, atoms or molecules can be moved around on a surface with scanning probe microscopy techniques. At present, it is expensive and time-consuming for mass production but very suitable for laboratory experimentation. In contrast, bottom-up techniques build or grow larger structures atom by atom or molecule by molecule. These techniques include chemical synthesis, self-assembly and positional assembly. Dual polarisation interferometry is one tool suitable for characterisation of self assembled thin films. Another variation of the bottom-up approach is molecular beam epitaxy or MBE. Researchers at Bell Telephone Laboratories like John R. Arthur. Alfred Y. Cho, and Art C. Gossard developed and implemented MBE as a research tool in the late 1960s and 1970s. Samples made by MBE were key to the discovery of the fractional quantum Hall effect for which the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded. MBE allows scientists to lay down atomically precise layers of atoms and, in the process, build up complex structures. Important for research on semiconductors, MBE is also widely used to make samples and devices for the newly emerging field of spintronics. However, new therapeutic products, based on responsive nanomaterials, such as the ultradeformable, stress-sensitive Transfersome vesicles, are under development and already approved for human use in some countries.


Research and development

Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Prior to 2012, the USA invested $3.7 billion using its
National Nanotechnology Initiative The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a research and development Research is " creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization, and analysis of information to ...
, the European Union invested $1.2 billion, and Japan invested $750 million. Over sixty countries created nanotechnology
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geogra ...
(R&D) programs between 2001 and 2004. In 2012, the US and EU each invested on nanotechnology research, followed by Japan with . Global investment reached in 2012. Government funding was exceeded by corporate R&D spending on nanotechnology research, which was in 2012. The largest corporate R&D spenders were from the US, Japan and Germany which accounted for a combined .


Applications

As of August 21, 2008, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies estimates that over 800 manufacturer-identified nanotech products are publicly available, with new ones hitting the market at a pace of 3–4 per week. The project lists all of the products in a publicly accessible online database. Most applications are limited to the use of "first generation" passive nanomaterials which includes titanium dioxide in sunscreen, cosmetics, surface coatings, and some food products; Carbon allotropes used to produce gecko tape; silver in food packaging, clothing, disinfectants and household appliances; zinc oxide in sunscreens and cosmetics, surface coatings, paints and outdoor furniture varnishes; and cerium oxide as a fuel catalyst. Further applications allow tennis balls to last longer, golf balls to fly straighter, and even bowling balls to become more durable and have a harder surface. Trousers and socks have been infused with nanotechnology so that they will last longer and keep people cool in the summer. Bandages are being infused with silver nanoparticles to heal cuts faster. Video game consoles and personal computers may become cheaper, faster, and contain more memory thanks to nanotechnology. Also, to build structures for on chip computing with light, for example on chip optical quantum information processing, and picosecond transmission of information. Nanotechnology may have the ability to make existing medical applications cheaper and easier to use in places like the general practitioner's office and at home. Cars are being manufactured with nanomaterials so they may need fewer metals and less fuel to operate in the future. Scientists are now turning to nanotechnology in an attempt to develop diesel engines with cleaner exhaust fumes. Platinum is currently used as the diesel engine Catalysis, catalyst in these engines. The catalyst is what cleans the exhaust fume particles. First a reduction catalyst is employed to take nitrogen atoms from NOx molecules in order to free oxygen. Next the oxidation catalyst oxidizes the hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide to form carbon dioxide and water. Platinum is used in both the reduction and the oxidation catalysts. Using platinum though, is inefficient in that it is expensive and unsustainable. Danish company InnovationsFonden invested DKK 15 million in a search for new catalyst substitutes using nanotechnology. The goal of the project, launched in the autumn of 2014, is to maximize surface area and minimize the amount of material required. Objects tend to minimize their surface energy; two drops of water, for example, will join to form one drop and decrease surface area. If the catalyst's surface area that is exposed to the exhaust fumes is maximized, efficiency of the catalyst is maximized. The team working on this project aims to create nanoparticles that will not merge. Every time the surface is optimized, material is saved. Thus, creating these nanoparticles will increase the effectiveness of the resulting diesel engine catalyst—in turn leading to cleaner exhaust fumes—and will decrease cost. If successful, the team hopes to reduce platinum use by 25%. Nanotechnology also has a prominent role in the fast developing field of Tissue Engineering. When designing scaffolds, researchers attempt to mimic the nanoscale features of a Cell (biology), cell's microenvironment to direct its differentiation down a suitable lineage. For example, when creating scaffolds to support the growth of bone, researchers may mimic osteoclast resorption pits. Researchers have successfully used DNA origami-based nanobots capable of carrying out logic functions to achieve targeted drug delivery in cockroaches. It is said that the computational power of these nanobots can be scaled up to that of a Commodore 64.


Nanoelectronics

Commercial
nanoelectronic Nanoelectronics refers to the use of nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atomic, molecular, and Supramolecular complex, supramolecular scale for industrial purposes. The earliest, widespread de ...
semiconductor device fabrication began in the 2010s. In 2013, SK Hynix began commercial mass-production of a 16 nanometer, 16nm process, TSMC began production of a 16nm
FinFET A fin field-effect transistor (FinFET) is a multigate device, a MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) built on a Wafer (electronics), substrate where the gate is placed on two, three, or four sides of the channel or wrapped ar ...
process, and
Samsung Electronics Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (; lit. "tristar electronics", sometimes shortened to SEC and stylized as SΛMSUNG) is a South Korean multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in ...
began production of a 10nm process. TSMC began production of a 7 nm process in 2017, and Samsung began production of a 5 nm process in 2018. In 2019, Samsung announced plans for the commercial production of a 3nm GAAFET process by 2021. Commercial production of nanoelectronic semiconductor memory also began in the 2010s. In 2013, SK Hynix began mass-production of 16 nanometer, 16nm NAND flash memory, and Samsung began production of 10nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory. In 2017, TSMC began production of Static random-access memory, SRAM memory using a 7 nm process.


Implications

An area of concern is the effect that industrial-scale manufacturing and use of nanomaterials would have on human health and the environment, as suggested by nanotoxicology research. For these reasons, some groups advocate that nanotechnology be regulated by governments. Others counter that overregulation would stifle scientific research and the development of beneficial innovations. Public health research agencies, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are actively conducting research on potential health effects stemming from exposures to nanoparticles. Some nanoparticle products may have unintended consequences. Researchers have discovered that bacteriostatic silver nanoparticles used in socks to reduce foot odor are being released in the wash. These particles are then flushed into the waste water stream and may destroy bacteria which are critical components of natural ecosystems, farms, and waste treatment processes. Public deliberations on risk perception in the US and UK carried out by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society found that participants were more positive about nanotechnologies for energy applications than for health applications, with health applications raising moral and ethical dilemmas such as cost and availability.Harthorn, Barbara Herr (January 23, 2009
"People in the US and the UK show strong similarities in their attitudes toward nanotechnologies"
. Nanotechnology Today.
Experts, including director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies David Rejeski, have testified that successful commercialization depends on adequate oversight, risk research strategy, and public engagement. Berkeley, California is currently the only city in the United States to regulate nanotechnology; Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2008 considered enacting a similar law, but ultimately rejected it.


Health and environmental concerns

Nanofibers are used in several areas and in different products, in everything from aircraft wings to tennis rackets. Inhaling airborne nanoparticles and nanofibers may lead to a number of pulmonary diseases, e.g. fibrosis. Researchers have found that when rats breathed in nanoparticles, the particles settled in the brain and lungs, which led to significant increases in biomarkers for inflammation and stress response and that nanoparticles induce skin aging through oxidative stress in hairless mice. A two-year study at UCLA's School of Public Health found lab mice consuming nano-titanium dioxide showed DNA and chromosome damage to a degree "linked to all the big killers of man, namely cancer, heart disease, neurological disease and aging". A major study published more recently in Nature Nanotechnology suggests some forms of carbon nanotubes – a poster child for the "nanotechnology revolution" – could be as harmful as asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities. Anthony Seaton of the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, who contributed to the article on
carbon nanotube image of a single-walled carbon nanotube. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are tubes made of carbon with diameters typically measured in nanometers The nanometre (international spelling as used by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures; SI ...

carbon nanotube
s said "We know that some of them probably have the potential to cause mesothelioma. So those sorts of materials need to be handled very carefully." In the absence of specific regulation forthcoming from governments, Paull and Lyons (2008) have called for an exclusion of engineered nanoparticles in food. A newspaper article reports that workers in a paint factory developed serious lung disease and nanoparticles were found in their lungs.Nanofibres 'may pose health risk'
. BBC. 2012-08-24


Regulation

Calls for tighter regulation of nanotechnology have occurred alongside a growing debate related to the human health and safety risks of nanotechnology. There is significant debate about who is responsible for the regulation of nanotechnology. Some regulatory agencies currently cover some nanotechnology products and processes (to varying degrees) – by "bolting on" nanotechnology to existing regulations – there are clear gaps in these regimes. Davies (2008) has proposed a regulatory road map describing steps to deal with these shortcomings. Stakeholders concerned by the lack of a regulatory framework to assess and control risks associated with the release of nanoparticles and nanotubes have drawn parallels with bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow" disease), thalidomide, genetically modified food, nuclear energy, reproductive technologies, biotechnology, and asbestosis. Dr. Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor to the Woodrow Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, concludes that there is insufficient funding for human health and safety research, and as a result there is currently limited understanding of the human health and safety risks associated with nanotechnology. As a result, some academics have called for stricter application of the precautionary principle, with delayed marketing approval, enhanced labelling and additional safety data development requirements in relation to certain forms of nanotechnology. The Royal Society report identified a risk of nanoparticles or nanotubes being released during disposal, destruction and recycling, and recommended that "manufacturers of products that fall under extended producer responsibility regimes such as end-of-life regulations publish procedures outlining how these materials will be managed to minimize possible human and environmental exposure" (p. xiii). The Center for Nanotechnology in Society has found that people respond to nanotechnologies differently, depending on application – with participants in deliberations, public deliberations more positive about nanotechnologies for energy than health applications – suggesting that any public calls for nano regulations may differ by technology sector.


See also

* Carbon nanotube * Electrostatic deflection (molecular physics/nanotechnology) * Energy applications of nanotechnology * Ethics of nanotechnologies * Ion implantation-induced nanoparticle formation * Gold nanoparticle * List of emerging technologies * List of nanotechnology organizations * List of software for nanostructures modeling * Magnetic nanochains * Materiomics * Nano-thermite * Molecular design software * Molecular mechanics * Nanobiotechnology * Nanoelectromechanical relay * Nanoengineering * Nanofluidics * NanoHUB * Nanometrology * Nanoparticle * Nanoscale networks * Nanotechnology education * Nanotechnology in fiction * Nanotechnology in water treatment * Nanoweapons *
National Nanotechnology Initiative The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a research and development Research is " creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization, and analysis of information to ...
* Self-assembly of nanoparticles * Top-down and bottom-up#Nanotechnology, Top-down and bottom-up * Translational research * Wet nanotechnology


References


External links

*
What is Nanotechnology?
(A Vega/BBC/OU Video Discussion). {{Authority control Nanotechnology, 1960 introductions 1985 introductions Articles containing video clips Emerging technologies 1986 neologisms 1970s neologisms