Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at atomic, molecular, and supra-molecular scale. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.
Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced. In its original sense, nanotechnology refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up at atomic level, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.
Areas of physics such as nanoelectronics, nanomechanics, nanophotonics and nanoionics have evolved during the last few decades to provide a basic scientific foundation of nanotechnology. A key understanding of nanotechnology is that it offers not just better products, but a vastly improved manufacturing process. A computer can make copies of data files—essentially as many copies as you want at little or no cost. It may be only a matter of time until the building of products becomes as cheap as the copying of files.
One nano meter (nm) is one billionth, or 10−9, of a meter. The smallest cellular life-forms, the bacteria of the genus Mycoplasma, are around 200 nm in length. The comparative size of a nano meter to a meter is the same as that of a marble to the size of the earth. There are 25,400,000 nano meters in an inch.
A sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nano meters thick.
Today's scientists and engineers are finding a wide variety of ways to deliberately make materials at the nanoscale to take advantage of their enhanced properties such as higher strength, lighter weight, increased control of light spectrum, and greater chemical reactivity than their larger-scale counterparts.