Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanotechnology is a highly interdisciplinary area; meaning that it involves ideas integrated from many traditional disciplines can be used across all the other science fields, such as physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, and engineering.

Scientists have discovered that materials at small dimensions/small particles, thin films, etc- can have significantly different properties than the same materials at larger scale. There are thus endless possibilities for improved devices, structures, and materials if we can understand these differences, and learn how to control the assembly of small structures.

In 1959, the physicist Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner for Physics in 1965, came up with the brilliant concept of the nano when he said “there is plenty of room at the bottom” during a conference of the American Physical Society. In his talk, Feynman described a process in which scientists would be able to manipulate and control individual atoms and molecules. Over a decade later, in his explorations of ultra-precision machining, Professor Norio Taniguchi coined the term nanotechnology. Once scientists had the right tools, such as the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) in 1981 and the atomic force microscope (AFM), the age of nanotechnology was born.

Scientists are predicting that nanotechnology is the next technical revolution and products resulting from it will affect all areas of our economy and lifestyle.

Now researchers have a clearer picture of how to create nanoscale materials with properties never envisioned before. Products using nanoscale materials and process are now available. Anti-bacterial wound dressings use nanoscale silver. A nanoscale dry powder can neutralize gas. Batteries for tools are being manufactured with nanoscale materials in order to deliver more power, more quickly with less heat. Sunscreens containing nanoscale titanium dioxide or Zinc Oxide are transparent and reflect ultraviolet light to prevent sunburns.


Prepared by Dr. Azeez Abdullah Azeez