The science of developing materials at the atomic and molecular level in order to imbue them with special electrical and chemical properties. Nanotechnology, which deals with devices typically less than 100 nanometers in size, is making a significant contribution to the fields of computer storage, biotechnology, manufacturing and energy. Semiconductor chips are perhaps the most visible application of nanotechnology as feature sizes of the transistor are shrinking to two nanometers and even smaller (see process technology
In the future, amazing nanotech-based products are expected, including extraordinarily tiny computers that are very powerful, building materials that withstand earthquakes, advanced systems for drug delivery and custom-tailored pharmaceuticals as well as the elimination of invasive surgery, because repairs can be made from within the body.
One Person Can Make a Breakthrough
Larry Bock, CEO of Nanosys, who helped launch more than a dozen successful biotech companies in his career, said that nanotech will impact even more industries than biotech. In an excerpted article from the March 2003 Nanotech Report, he compared nanotechnology with microelectronics. Bock said that "a single chemistry graduate student can create novel devices and architectures not even imaginable or manufacturable by today's biggest microprocessor companies. That is because these devices are fabricated chemically, or from the bottom up. Existing microelectronics technology is fabricated by etching wafers, or from the top down." See AFM
Fixing One Cell at a Time
In the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage, a submarine and crew are shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of a patient to save him. Truly science fiction; however, Rutgers University scientists believe nano-sized robots injected into the bloodstream can administer a drug to an infected cell. With a carbon nanotube body and a biomolecular motor, its peptide limbs orient its position. Composed of DNA and proteins, the robot is easily removed from the body. (Image courtesy of the Bio-Nano Robotics team at Rutgers University: Constantinos Mavroidis, Martin L. Yarmush, Atul Dubey, Angela Thornton, Kevin Nikitczuk, Silvina Tomassone, Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos and Bernie Yurke.)