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Nanotechnology definition (NSET, February 2000)

Research and technology development at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular levels, in the length scale of approximately 1 - 100 nanometer range, to provide a fundamental understanding of phenomena and materials at the nanoscale and to create and use structures, devices and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small and/or intermediate size. The novel and differentiating properties and functions are developed at a critical length scale of matter typically under 100 nm. Nanotechnology research and development includes manipulation under control of the nanoscale structures and their integration into larger material components, systems and architectures. Within these larger scale assemblies, the control and construction of their structures and components remains at the nanometer scale. In some particular cases, the critical length scale for novel properties and phenomena may be under 1 nm (e.g., manipulation of atoms at ~0.1 nm) or be larger than 100 nm (e.g., nanoparticle reinforced polymers have the unique feature at ~ 200-300 nm as a function of the local bridges or bonds between the nano particles and the polymer).

References (all on this website http://www.nano.gov):

  • Nanotechnology Research Directions, 1999
  • National Nanotechnology Initiative and Its Implementation Plan, 2000
  • Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 2001