K. Eric Drexler (right) popularised the word nanotechnology in the 1980s, he talked about building molecule scale machines, a few manometers of wide motors, robot arms and even whole computers, much smaller than a cell. Drexler spent the next ten years describing and analysing these incredible devices, and responding to accusations of science fiction. Meanwhile, worldly technology was developing the ability to build simple structures on a molecular scale. As nanotechnology became an accepted concept, the meaning of the word changed to encompass the simpler types of nano-metric technology. The US National Nanotechnology Initiative was created to fund this type of nanotechnology: its definition includes anything less than 100 manometers with novel properties.
Nanotechnology (nano-tech) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular and supra-molecular scale. The oldest and most widespread description of nanotechnology refers to the particular technological purpose of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for the manufacture of macroscopic products, also called molecular nanotechnology. The National Nanotechnology Initiative established a more general description of nanotechnology, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension of 1 to 100 manometers. This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important on this scale of the quantum realm, so the definition shifted from a particular technological objective to a category of research that includes all types of research and technologies dealing with properties Subject matter occurring below the given size threshold. Therefore, it is common to see the plural "nanotechnologies" as well as "nano-scale technologies" to refer to the wide range of research and applications whose common feature is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Until 2012, through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the United States has invested 3.7 billion dollars, the European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars.
The concepts that sow nanotechnology were first discussed in 1959 by the renowned physicist Richard Feynman in his lecture There's Plenty of Room in the Bottom, in which he described the possibility of synthesis through the direct manipulation of atoms. The term "nano-technology" was first used by Norio Taniguchi in 1974, although it was not widely known.
Comparison of nano materials sizes
Inspired by Feynman's concepts, K. Eric Drexler used the term "nanotechnology" in his 1986 book Motors of Creation: The Age of Nanotechnology which proposed the idea of a nano-scale "assembler" who would be able to construct a copy Of himself and of other articles of arbitrary complexity with atomic control. Also in 1986, Drexler co-founded The Foresight Institute (with which it is no longer affiliated) to help raise public awareness and understanding of the concepts and implications of nanotechnology.
Thus, the emergence of nanotechnology as a field in the 1980s came about through the convergence of Drexler's theoretical and public work, which developed and popularised a conceptual framework for nanotechnology and high-visibility experimental advances that drew attention to Large scale additional to the prospects of atomic control of importance. In the 1980s, two major breakthroughs led to the growth of nanotechnology in the modern era.
The invention of the scanning sweep microscope in 1981, which provided unprecedented visualisation of individual atoms and bonds, was successfully used to manipulate individual atoms in 1989. Developers of the microscope Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory received A Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. Binnig, Quate and Gerber also invented the atomic force analog microscope that year.
Secondly, fullerenes were discovered in 1985 by Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley and Robert Curl, who together won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996. C60 was not initially described as nanotechnology; The term was used with respect to later work with related graphene tubes (called carbon nano-tubes and sometimes called Bucky tubes) that suggested potential applications for electronic devices and nano-scale devices.
In the early 2000s, the field gained more scientific, political and commercial attention that led to controversy and progress. The controversies arose regarding the definitions and potential implications of nanotechnologies, exemplified by the Royal Society's report on nanotechnology. Challenges were raised as to the viability of applications envisaged by proponents of molecular nanotechnology, culminating in a public debate between Drexler and Smalley in 2001 and 2003.
Meanwhile, began marketing products based on advances in nano-scale technologies. These products are limited to bulk applications of nano-materials and do not involve atomic control of matter. Some examples include the Silver Nano platform for the use of silver nano-particles as an antibacterial agent, nano-particles based on transparent sunscreens, reinforcing carbon fiber with silica nano-particles, and carbon nano-tubes for stain resistant fabrics.
Governments mobilised to promote and finance nanotechnology research, as in the United States with the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which formalised a definition of nanotechnology based on size and established funds for nano-scale research and in Europe through Programs European Framework for Research and Technological Development.
In the mid-2000s, new and serious scientific attention began to flourish. Projects emerged to produce nanotechnology road maps , which focus on precise atomic manipulation of matter and discuss existing, projected capabilities, and applications.