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A dendrimer (from Greek dendra for tree) is an artificially manufactured or synthesized molecule built up from branched units called monomers. Such processes involve working on the scale of nanometers (a nanometer is 10 -9 or a billionth of a meter or a millionth of a millimeter). Technically, a dendrimer is a polymer , which is a large molecule comprised of many smaller ones linked together.

Dendrimers have some proven applications, and numerous potential applications. They have been used in the production of industrial adhesives. They are expected to serve as components in a variety of nanomachine s. Dendrimers are of interest to researchers in medical technology, where they might help carry and deliver drugs in the body, or serve as replacements for plasma components. Dendrimers might also prove useful in the manufacture of nanoscale batteries and lubricants, catalysts, and herbicides.

Also see nanotechnology .

This was last updated in September 2005

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