Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with structures sized between 1 to 100 nanometer in at least one dimension, and involves developing materials or devices possessing at least one dimension within that size. Quantum mechanical effects are very important at this scale.
Nanotechnology is highly diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale. There is much debate on the future implications of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the 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 is warranted.
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