Physicist Richard Feynman first suggested that nanotechnology was theoretically possible in a 1959 presentation to the American Physical Society stating, “The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom.” He took it further and said, “It is my intention to offer a prize of $1,000 to the first guy who can take the information on the page of a book, and put it on an area 1/25,000 smaller in linear scale, in such manner that it can be read by an electron microscope.” The Pease group at Stanford won the prize in 1985 for writing a page of text in a 6 micron square. Feynman’s vision of building materials from atoms “up” is sometimes called “molecular manufacturing” or “MNT” (molecular nanotechnology).
Nanotechnology, as defined in current terms, exploits the observation that things happen differently at the nanoscale. Whereas at the macro scale, traditional physics explains most of what we see (e.g. gravity, mass, acceleration), as we approach the nanoscale, van der Waals and Brownian effects, and finally powerful Quantum effects play an increasing role.
Nanotechnology is the study, design, creation, synthesis, manipulation, and application of functional materials, devices, and systems through control of matter and energy at the nanometer scale. Further it entails the exploitation of novel phenomena, including the properties of matter, energy, and information at the molecular, atomic, and sub atomic levels.
Or more simply, Nanotechnology is the array of technologies that use properties of materials that are unique to structures at the nanoscale.
Fabrication methods are also important in Nanotechnology. As described by the Institute of Nanotechnology, “The two fundamentally different approaches to nanotechnology are graphically termed ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’. ‘Top-down’ refers to making nanoscale structures by machining and etching techniques, whereas ‘bottom-up’, or molecular nanotechnology, applies to building organic and inorganic structures atom-by-atom, or molecule-by-molecule. Top-down or bottom-up is a measure of the level of advancement of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology, as applied today, is still in the main at what may be considered the more primitive ‘top-down’ stage.”
Nanotechnology Applications
Some applications of Nanotechnology have been in use for decades, such as the science of catalysis and the design and manufacture of catalysts for processing, refining and automotive uses. Other uses are in sun screen, corrosion resistance, solar conversion and materials sciences. Promising future uses are in advanced electronics, solar conversion, drug delivery, implantable sensors, and sensory aids, among others.
SmallTech can consult with you to help improve and extend your Nanotechnology devices – and we can help you evaluate whether new Nanotechnology application areas would make sense for your company.
Some Useful Links
Nano Letters American Chemical Society subscription Journal, began in January 2001.
Nanotechnology Institute of Physics subscription journal, began in January 2006.  Free access for thirty days after publication.
Nature Nanotechnology subscription journal, began in October 2006.
Nano Today Published by Elsevier – “a lively and informative magazine”.
Institute of Nanotechnology
Institute of Nanotechnology – NanoLinks
Introduction to Nanotechnology at Foothill College
research Nanotechnology Council
MEMSNet – MEMS and Nanotechnology Clearinghouse
TinyTech – jobs and information resource in MEMS and Nanotech
SmallTimes – online magazine specializing in MEMS and Nanotech
Research institutes in nanotechnology
Institute for Molecular Manufacturing
– Non-profit organisation founded to conduct research aimed at developing molecular manufacturing.
AMO GmbH – Committed to applied research in the area of micro-, nano- and opto-electronics to enable technologies and devices for emerging future applications in the area of communication, life and energy.
i3 Nanotec India Pvt. Ltd. – Nanotechnology Research and Development firm involved in nanomaterials designing using computational simulation techniques, nanomaterial synthesis, characterization, and applications development.
IBM Research Center – Undertakes modification of materials at atomic and nanometer scales and studies nano-electronic devices.
IBM Zurich Research Lab – Researchers of cantilever sensors, chemical AFM, MRI, Dynamic Force Microscopy, nanoscale integrated circuits and ultrathin magnetic structures.
Lab_Bell, Inc. – A research and development organisation involved in making electronics, biocaptures, anti-biotics by the use of nanotechnology.
Mass Group of UIUC – Performs research in the fields of Microelectromechanical and Nanoelectromechanical Systems.
NanOp – Collaborative of academic and commercial institutions for the promotion of nanotechnology in Germany.
Nanotechnology Research Institute – A government research institute involved in the advancement of nanomaterials and device technology and their extension to industrially relevant technologies.
NAS Computational Molecular Nanotechnology – NASA’s Research Center develops Ames’ computational molecular nanotechnology, designs and computationally tests atomically precise electronic, mechanical and other components.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – Develops commercial products through application of nanoscience, nanoengineering and nanotechnology.
Paul-Drude-Institut – Performs materials research, solid state physics and nanotechnology on low-dimensional structures.all about nanotechnology
The Foresight Institute
– Non-profit institute focused on nanotechnology, the coming ability to build materials and products with atomic precision, and systems to aid knowledge exchange and critical discussion, thus improving public and private policy decisions.
Nanotechnology Now
– Comprehensive and informative nanotechnology portal. Provides introduction to nanotechnology, general information, images, interviews, news, events, research, books, glossary and links.
Applied Computational Research Society – Nonprofit organization fostering interdisciplinary approaches to modeling and simulation in the advancement of computational science and high technology. Focused on nanoscience and MEMS applications.
The ASME Nanotechnology Institute – American Society of Mechanical Engineers: nanotechnology resources, events, programs, activities, online courses, webcasts, news and links.
Cantion A/S – Manufacturer of MEMS nanonanofluidic dispensers and nanomechanical cantilevers. Denmark.
Chengyin Technology – Provider of nanostructured titanium dioxide powders. Shenzhen, China.
CMP Cientifica – News, networks, conferences and nanotechnology resources in Europe
Euspen – European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology – contains society news, conference information, discussion forums and expertise search. Euspen is a not-for-profit company based at Cranfield University in the UK, with members around the world.
Evident Technologies – Manufacturer of quantum dot nanoparticles for use as a color-enhancing additive in optical devices and visual materials. New York.
Exploring the Nanoworld – Movies of nano-structured materials: ferrofluids, memory metals, amorphous metals, LEDs, re-entrant foams, self assembly, DNA, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, atomix imaging, Lego models, Giant Magneto Resistance, silicon, carbon nanotubes, polymers, and semiconductor devices. National Science Foundation supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The gRobots Project – An open source project to build and run a globally distributed supercomputer for the simulation of evolvable nanotechnology.
How Stuff Works: How Nanotechnology Will Work – Animated narrative shows how Nanotechnology has the potential to totally change manufacturing, health care and many other areas.
IBM Almaden STM Molecular Art – Some of the famous images of atoms and molecules made with IBM’s scanning tunneling microscope.
Institute for Atomic-Scale Engineering – Personal page of Forrest Bishop: published and unpublished concept articles.
Institute of Nanotechnology (UK) – The Institute of Nanotechnology has been created to foster, develop and promote all aspects of science and technology in those domains where dimensions and tolerances in the range of 0.1 nm to 100nm play a critical role.
Minatec – Centre for innovation in micro and nanotechnology. Teaching, research, and industrial development.
Minatec – Centre for Innovation in Micro and Nanotechnology in Grenoble. Teaching, research, and industrial development.
Molecular Imprints, Inc. – Manufacturer of imprint, step-and-flash lithography systems for creating nanometer-scale surface relief structures. Texas.
Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group – Promotes developing nanotechnology as a way to facilitate space exploration and settlement.
Nano Science & Technology Institute – Events, publications and news in nanotechnology, microtechnology and biotechnology.
Nano Space – Nano technology as it applies now and in the future to Space Exploration and Studies.
NanoApex – Nanotechnology portal.
Nanobase – Loyola College, Maryland. National Science Foundation sponsored site presenting up-to-date sources of information on nanotechnology in the areas of major research centers, funding agencies, major reports and books.
NanoComputer Dream Team – Multidisciplinary project to make Earth’s first nanometer supercomputer via Internet.
Nanodot – News and Discussion of Coming Technologies: Weblog devoted to nanotechnology-related news stories, with attached discussion forum. (based on Slashdot software) European Nanotechnology Gateway – Offers background information, news and developments in industry and research and a selection of publications.
nanogloss – Online dictionary of nanotechnology.
Nanoguys – Nanotechnology Career Consultants. Recruiting and placement of staff in nanotechnolgy related positions such as Organic, Inorganic, Biological, Project Management, Research Scientist, Engineer, and Lab Technician.
NanoInk, Inc. – Creator of Dip Pen Nanolithography (DPN) tools for fabricating MEMS and other nanoscale devices. Chicago.
NanoManipulator: 3rdTech – Commercial version of the NanoManipulator system originally from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
NanoManipulator: University of North Carolina – The nanoManipulator provides an improved, natural interface to SPMs (STMs and ATMs) by coupling the microscope to a virtual-reality interface giving a virtual telepresence on the surface, scaled by a factor of about a million to one.
Nanomedicine – Devoted to the medical applications and implications of molecular nanotechnology. Nanomedicine may be defined as the monitoring, repair, construction and control of human biological systems at the molecular level, using engineered nanodevices and nanostructures. Includes the Nanomedicine Art Gallery. (From the Foresight Institute.)
Nanonex Corp – Manufacturer of imprint, step-and-flash lithography systems. New Jersey.
Nanoscale Science and Engineering – National Science Foundation. Activities, Information & Education, Research & Development, Connections, and NSF & NNI (National Nanotechnology Initiative) Reports.
NanoScout – Portal with forums, and links sorted by topic and popularity.
NanoSpace – The Center for NanoSpace Technologies is a Texas-based nonprofit scientific research and education foundation chartered to conceive, establish, and conduct cutting-edge technology, research, and development in the areas of aerospace, education, energy, life sciences, and shipping & transportation.
NanotechNews – News for nanotechnologists and investors: regular updates, many links to other nanotechnology websites, archives, search function, newswire.
Nanotechnology – Institute of Physics quarterly journal
Nanotechnology – Institute of Physics monthly journal for aspects of nanoscale science and technology
The NanoTechnology Group – A consortium of nano companies, universities and organizations developing a nano science curriculum for K-12.
Nanotechnology in Manufacturing – What Next? The Coming Revolution In Manufacturing: Autodesk Technology Forum Presentation by John Walker, May 10th, 1990. Somewhat dated but well worth reading. – Portal offering nanotechnology information, including articles, news, job postings, and links. – Nanotechnology-specific news, products, jobs, events and information. Includes articles about nanotechnology of interest to the general public. – Provides information for nanotechnology and research.
Nano-Tek – Consultancy in nanomaterials and technology. UK.
nanoTEN – Nanotechnology consulting firm. Services include nanotechnology matchmaking, assessment of trends, feasibility studies, materials and products analysis, and presentation assistance.
nanoTITAN – Nanotechnology Software, Data & Services: nanoTITAN offers Java libraries and applications, a nanodevice database, the nanoML specification, custom simulation and visualization to the nanotechnology and general scientific communities.
The Nanotube Site – Michigan State University’s Library of Links for the Nanotube Research Community
NanoWave – An MIT startup, Nanowave offers SPPE (Scanning Probe Position Encoder) technology for picometer-order (subnanometer) resolution over ranges greater than several inches. – Online nanotechnology resource focusing on education of the general public and distribution of nanotech products. Articles, definitions, and links.
National Science Foundation – Partnership in Nanotechnology (US). Recent technical and policy reports, funding opportunities, profiles of projects currently supported, and links to other nanoscience/technology sites.
Scanning Probe Methods Group – Univ of Hamburg – Academic research group using scanning probe methods (SPM), emphasis on investigating the relationship between nanostructure and nanophysical properties. Hamburg.
Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) – Describes the invention of the topografiner, a precursor instrument, between 1965 and 1971, and also tells of the STM’s development.
Scientific American – Nanotechnology articles, some free and some archived.
Self Replicating Systems – NASA and Self-Replicating Systems: Implications for Nanotechnology.
Small Times – Daily articles covering MEMS, nanotechnology, and microsystems, with a business angle.
Thermodynamics Research Laboratory – Classical, Quantum, Nanoscale & Statistical Thermodynamics & Mechanics data and property calculation sites.
Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology – A weekly multijournal compilation of the latest research on nanoscale systems. Published by the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society.
VISION Online – Virtual Institute supported by the EC, committed to promotion and training in the precision engineering and nanotechnologies. Contains discussion forums, training programmes and patent library.
Xerox/Zyvex Nanotechnology – Former Xerox Palo Alto Research Center Nanotechnology page: brief introduction to core concepts of molecular nanotechnology (MNT), and links for further reading.
Yahoo Groups: Nanotechnology – Active nanotechnology discussion group.
Yashnanotech – Provides marketing and consultancy services for products developed by nanotechnology. Promotes nanotech awareness through training, educational publications, seminars, workshops and conferences.