NanoscienceandNanotechnologyare closely related terms. Nanoscience is the study and understanding of matter at ‘Nano-scale’, where unique properties allow never imagined applications and Nanotechnology is the way for the manifestation of such novel applications. In other words, Nanotechnology is precise manipulation, control and use of matter at nanoscale for design, characterization, and production for different applications, phenomenon or for a specific technology. It is the engineering and technology conducted at ‘Nano’ scale.

The whole idea of Nanotechnology developed over a long period of time and finally geared up with the invention of Scanning Tunnelling microscope in 1981 which allowed to ‘see’ individual atoms! In 1959, the potential of nanotechnology was appropriately predicted by Sir Richard Feynman of California Institute of Technology in his lecture which is considered to be the first lecture on technology and engineering at the atomic scale, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” at an American Physical Society meeting at Caltech.Feynman described a process by which the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules might be developed, using one set of precise tools to build and operate another proportionally smaller set, and so on down to the needed scale.

Thefirst generationof nanotech is defined by passive structures that are created to carry out one specific task. Researchers are currently in this generation of technology.Thesecond generationis to be defined by structures capable of multitasking. Researchers are currently entering this generation and hoping to further their abilities in the near future. Thethird generationwill introduce systems composed of thousands of nanostructures. Thefourth generationwill be defined by nanosystems designed on the molecular level. These systems will work like living human or animal cells.

Application of nanotechnology are endless but few of the areas where they are extensively used are-

  1. Electronics
  2. Food
  3. Fabric
  4. Agriculture
  5. Fuels
  6. Air and Water treatment
  7. Sports