Nanoscience and nanotechnology became possible in the 1910’s with the development of the tools to measure and make nano structures. The actual development started with the discovery of electrons and neutrons which showed scientists that matter can exist on a much smaller scale that what was normally thought as small. The Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) was one version scanning probes that launched nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology refers to materials and devices that operate at the nano scale. Nano in the metric system equals a billionth. Which means a nano meter is one billionth of a meter. Two main approaches are used in nanotechnology: one is “bottom up” where materials and devices are built or grow larger atom by atom or molecule by molecule. These techniques include chemical synthesis, self assembly and positional assembly. The other one is “top down” where they are constructed by removing existing material from larger pieces. Nanotechnology includes many techniques used to create structures at a size below 100 nano meters (nm), including those used for fabrication of nanowires, those used in semiconductor fabrication. Nanoparticles, nanopowders and nanotubes already are being used in the auto industry, medicine, science and even in households. Nano technology has also been the source of several environmental clean up products. In the future nano technology is expected to have an impact on most industries and the U.S. National Science Foundation has predicted that the global market for nano technologies will reach $1 trillion or more within 20 years. In 2005 the nanotechnology market in Japan had $20 billion dollars in sales and by 2010 it will grow to $210 billion.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nano_technology

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