Nanotechnology can be a difficult concept for many people to understand as it involves the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular scale. Nano refers to things in the billionth scale, in the same way that micro refers to things in the millionth scale and milli refers to things in the thousandth scale. A standard sheet of paper that is used in most office printers is around 100,000 nanometers thick.
Nanotechnology refers to a broad group of emerging technologies, but it is not just some future science, many applications are already a part of our everyday lives, with many more in development and more again not yet imagined. The materials of these technologies are constructed at the nanoscale, that are of atoms and molecules, in order to deliver new and exciting devices and materials that have unique and incredibly useful properties. However these are not just achieved by the materials being very small, it is very much about their structure and how they are put together, which results in these new properties.
Nanotechnology has been described as an all encompassing technology – one capable of having a significant impact across all industries and throughout society as a whole.