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Published on Oct 14, 2008
Nanotechnology, sometimes shortened to nanotech, refers to a field of applied science whose theme is the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally nanotechnology deals with structures 100 nanometers or smaller, and involves developing materials or devices within that size.
Nanotechnology is an extremely diverse and multidisciplinary field, ranging from novel extensions of conventional device physics, to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, to developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale, or the scale of nothing, even to speculation on whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale.
There has been much debate on the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has the potential to create many new materials and devices with wide-ranging applications, such as in medicine, electronics, and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as with any introduction of 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. These concerns have lead to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.