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

Powered by:

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

  • email spam

    Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

  • distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack

    A distributed denial-of-service attack occurs when an attack originates from multiple computers or devices, usually from multiple...

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

SearchHealthIT

  • athenahealth Inc.

    Based in Watertown, Mass., athenahealth Inc. is a leading vendor of cloud-based EHRs for small to medium-sized physician ...

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legislation passed in 2010 that changed how uninsured Americans enroll in and receive healthcare...

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

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

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

SearchStorage

  • virtual memory

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

  • yottabyte (YB)

    A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

  • Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta and all that

    Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta are among the list of prefixes used to denote the quantity of something, such as a byte ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • 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 ...

  • NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

    An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

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