Browse Definitions:
Definition

nanotechnology (molecular manufacturing)

Nanotechnology, or, as it is sometimes called, molecular manufacturing , is a branch of engineering that deals with the design and manufacture of extremely small electronic circuits and mechanical devices built at the molecular level of matter. The Institute of Nanotechnology in the U.K. expresses it as "science and technology where dimensions and tolerances in the range of 0.1 nanometer (nm) to 100 nm play a critical role." Nanotechnology is often discussed together with micro-electromechanical systems ( MEMS ), a subject that usually includes nanotechnology but may also include technologies higher than the molecular level.

There is a limit to the number of components that can be fabricated onto a semiconductor wafer or "chip.". Traditionally, circuits have been etched onto chips by removing material in small regions. However, it is also possible in theory to build chips up, one atom at a time, to obtain devices much smaller than those that can be manufactured by etching. With this approach, there would be no superfluous atoms; every particle would have a purpose. Electrical conductors, called nanowire s, would be only one atom thick. A logic gate would require only a few atoms. A data bit could be represented by the presence or absence of a single electron .

Nanotechnology holds promise in the quest for ever-more-powerful computers and communications devices. But the most fascinating (and potentially dangerous) applications are in medical science. So-called nanorobot s might serve as programmable antibodies. As disease-causing bacteria and viruses mutate in their endless attempts to get around medical treatments, nanorobots could be reprogrammed to selectively seek out and destroy them. Other nanorobots might be programmed to single out and kill cancer cells.

Two concepts associated with nanotechnology are positional assembly and self-replication . Positional assembly deals with the mechanics of moving molecular pieces into their proper relational places and keeping them there. Molecular robots are devices that do the positional assembly. Self-replication deals with the problem of multiplying the positional arrangements in some automatic way, both in building the manufacturing device and in building the manufactured product.

This was last updated in March 2011

Continue Reading About nanotechnology (molecular manufacturing)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

    The Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES, is a symmetric block cipher used by the U.S. government to protect classified ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • spear phishing

    Spear phishing is an email-spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • CIFS (Common Internet File System)

    CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a protocol that gained popularity around the year 2000, as vendors worked to establish an ...

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close