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Nanomanufacturing is both the production of nanoscaled materials, which can be powders or fluids, and the manufacturing of parts "bottom up" from nanoscaled materials or "top down" in smallest steps for high precision, used in several technologies such as laser ablation, etching and others. Nanomanufacturing differs from molecular manufacturing, which is the manufacture of complex, nanoscale structures by means of nonbiological mechanosynthesis (and subsequent assembly).[1]

The term "nanomanufacturing" is widely used, e.g. by the European Technology Platform MINAM[2] and the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).[3] The NNI refers to the sub-domain of nanotechnology as one of its five "priority areas."[4] There is also a nanomanufacturing program at the U.S. National Science Foundation, through which the National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) has been established. The NNN is an organization that works to expedite the transition of nanotechnologies from laboratory research to production manufacturing and it does so through information exchange,[5] strategic workshops, and roadmap development.

The NNI has defined nanotechnology very broadly,[6] to include a wide range of tiny structures, including those created by large and imprecise tools. However, nanomanufacturing is not defined in the NNI's recent report, Instrumentation and Metrology for Nanotechnology. In contrast, another "priority area," nanofabrication, is defined as "the ability to fabricate, by directed or self-assembly methods, functional structures or devices at the atomic or molecular level" (p. 67). Nanomanufacturing appears to be the near-term, industrial-scale manufacture of nanotechnology-based objects, with emphasis on low cost and reliability. Many professional societies have formed Nanotechnology technical groups. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, for example, has formed a Nanomanufacturing Technical Group to both inform members of the developing technologies and to address the organizational and IP (intellectual property) legal issues that must be addressed for broader commercialization.

In 2014 the Government Accountability Office noted that America's leadership in nanotechnology was put at risk by a failure of the government to invest in preparing basic research for commercial application.[7]


  1. ^ Glossary of Drexler's Nanosystems
  2. ^ MINAM website
  3. ^ U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative website
  4. ^ "Events in British Telecomms History". Events in British TelecommsHistory. Retrieved November 25, 2005. 
  5. ^ InterNano
  6. ^ U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative: What is nanotechnology?
  7. ^ "Nanomanufacturing in America". The Economist. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.