Portal:Nanotechnology

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Welcome to the nanotechnology portal
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Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.

Nanotechnology is very diverse, including extensions of conventional device physics, new approaches based on molecular self-assembly, developing new materials with nanoscale dimensions, and investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale. Nanotechnology entails the application of fields as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc.

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.

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Richard Feynman, whose 1959 talk "There's plenty of room at the bottom" many years later inspired the conceptual foundations of nanotechnology

History of nanotechnology

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The history of nanotechnology traces the development of the concepts and experimental work falling under the broad category of nanotechnology. Although nanotechnology is a relatively recent development in scientific research, the development of its central concepts happened over a longer period of time. The emergence of nanotechnology in the 1980s was caused by the convergence of experimental advances such as the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981 and the discovery of fullerenes in 1985, with the elucidation and popularization of a conceptual framework for the goals of nanotechnology beginning with the 1986 publication of the book Engines of Creation. The field was subject to growing public awareness and controversy in the early 2000s, with prominent debates about both its potential implications as well as the feasibility of the applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology, and with governments moving to promote and fund research into nanotechnology. The early 2000s also saw the beginnings of commercial applications of nanotechnology, although these were limited to bulk applications of nanomaterials rather than the transformative applications envisioned by the field.

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James R. Heath b. 1962

Selected biography

James R. Heath is an American chemist known for having ran the experimental apparatus that generated the first C60 molecules and, ultimately, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the three senior members of the collaboration: Robert F. Curl, Richard E. Smalley and Harold Kroto. Heath, now at the California Institute of Technology, focuses on quantum phase transitions and developing architectures, devices, and circuits for molecular scale electronics, as well as applying expertise in nanoscale and molecular systems to addressing problems in cancer and infectious diseases. He shared a 2000 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology "for building a molecular switch, a major step toward their long-term goal of building entire memory chips that are just a hundred nanometers wide".

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