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A short length of a single walled carbon nanotube, open at one end, closed at the other, and wrapped with a solubilizing polymer molecule (polystyrene sulfonate).
Credit: Dr. Richard E. Smalley, Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics, Rice University

Title: Why Are Engineers Exploring Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnologies—materials and devices that engineers custom-design at the nanometer (one billionth of a meter) scale—give us high-performance products and methods to measure, control and manipulate matter at the molecular level. By doing so, engineers can create materials with exceptional purity and efficient structure, as well as design devices with fundamentally new properties and functions.

The systematic control of matter at the nanoscale may yield revolutionary technologies for nearly every field of human endeavor, from electronics, medicine and aeronautics to the environment, manufacturing and security.

NSF plays a critical role in our nation's efforts to advance nanoscale science and engineering. NSF launched the National Nanotechnology Initiative and provides the largest contribution to this interagency effort, with primary responsibility for investments in fundamental research, education and research infrastructure.

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