Nanotechnology is a branch of applied science and technology and deals with interventions on matter at the atomic and molecular level. Nanotechnology specifically deals with all methods and techniques operating on a dimensional scale lower than the micrometer (one millionth of a meter).
A nanometer is in fact a unit of measurement of length, corresponding to one billionth of a meter (equivalent to one millionth of a millimeter).
Nano-scale: the nanometer, one billionth of a meter, corresponds to the size of a molecule.
This science was first referenced back in 1959 during the speech given by American physicist Richard Feynman, who suggested a useful system to develop direct manipulating of atoms and molecules – the so-called scale-down – which means designing machine-tools in 1:10 scale, then using them to develop and control subsequent generations of tools, in 1:100 scale, and so on.
The term “Nanotechnology” was later coined in 1986 by Kim Eric Drexler, American engineer and researcher for the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, who defined his science as the following: “molecular-level technology which will allow us to place every single atom wherever we want it to be placed”.
Here are some practical examples which will allow us to better understand this terminology:
The eye of a needle measures one million of nanometers, one red blood cell measures approx. a thousand nanometers, one DNA fragment is a few nanometers long: let’s just think that it contains all the necessary information to the development of an entire living organism!