What is nanotechnology?

That nanotechnology can be difficult to comprehend is not so surprising: it is almost incomprehensible small, is used in a broad variety of industries and products and seems to be able to help tackle some of the grand challenges of our time.

Nanotechnology refers to a technology or technical details that are between 1 to 100 nanometres in size – it is a technology that is defined as working with, and / or produce things, at atomic level.With nanotechnology scientists use atoms and molecules to design new materials, components or systems that have improved or new properties.

Multidisciplinary field

4.008 The Confluence of Biology, ChemistryNanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field of research and stretches over fields like materials science, mechanics, electronics, biology and medicine.

The fact that it is multidisciplinary field, sometimes make it difficult to separate it from near by sciences. In a way, nanotechnology blurs the boundaries that for a long time have kept one research field separated from another.

That is because at the nano scale it is sometimes difficult to define whether you are working with chemistry, physics or biology, those are all names that describe things happening at a much larger scale.

One billionth of a meter

Nano is a unit of measure just like meters, kilometres, inches and so on. A nanometre, or nm, is one billionth of a meter and are used to describe things that are less than a micron in size. The magnitude scale looks like this: decimetre, centimetre, millimetre, micrometer, nanometre, picometre and femtometre.

In research nanometres is in particular used to describe size of the wavelengths of light or the distance between two atoms bond. The term nano is also a prefix, which means that is a word that can be used to give other words properties. There are already a variety of such words: nanomaterials, nanoscience, nanoparticle, nanostructured surfaces and so on.

Nanoparticles can be both manufactured and naturally occurring

A nanoparticle is usually defined as a particle with a size ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers. A distinguish is made between natural appearing nanoparticles and manufactured nanoparticles. There are many examples of naturally occurring nanoparticles. For example, when you light a match there are quantities of natural nanocarbon in nano size released. Manufactured nanoparticles, or ENP (Engineered Nano Particles), are particles that scientists manipulated to enhance its properties for a special reason.