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Welcome to the nanotechnology portal

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.


A reverse-biased nanofluidic diode

Nanofluidic circuitry

Selected article

Nanofluidic circuitry is a nanotechnology aiming for control of fluids in nanometer scale. Due to the effect of an electrical double layer within the fluid channel, the behavior of nanofluid is observed to be significantly different compared with its microfluidic counterparts. Its typical characteristic dimensions fall within the range of 1–100 nm. At least one dimension of the structure is in nanoscopic scale. Phenomena of fluids in nano-scale structure are discovered to be of different properties in electrochemistry and fluid dynamics. With the development of microfabrication and nanotechnology, the study of microfluidics and nanofluidics is drawing more attention. Research on microfluidic found its advantages in DNA analysis, lab-on-a-chip, and micro-TAS. Devices in a microfluidic system include channels, valves, mixers, and pumps. Integration of these microfluidic devices enables sorting, transporting, and mixing of substances within fluids. However, the failure of moving parts in these systems is usually the critical issue and the main drawback. Mechanisms to control flow without using mechanical parts are always desired for reliability and lifetime.


History of nanotechnology

Selected image

The world's first atomic force microscope on display in the Science Museum in London, UK.
Credit: John Dalton

The world's first atomic force microscope on display in the Science Museum in London, UK.


Sumio Iijima

Sumio Iijima b. 1939

Selected biography

Sumio Iijima is a Japanese physicist, often cited as the discoverer of carbon nanotubes. Iijima's 1991 paper generated unprecedented interest in the carbon nanostructures and has since fueled intense research in the area of nanotechnology. He shared the inaugural 2008 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience for his "large impact in the development of the nanoscience field of the zero and one dimensional nanostructures in physics, chemistry and biology”.



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