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 nanowires, 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 nanorobots 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 2017

Continue Reading About nanotechnology (molecular manufacturing)

Join the conversation

1 comment

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.

What do you see as the major risks and benefits of nanotechnology?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchCloudProvider

  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.

SearchSecurity

  • Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)

    In security, Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is a comprehensive framework of all the relevant subjects a security professional ...

  • rootkit

    A rootkit is a program or, more often, a collection of software tools that gives a threat actor remote access to and control over...

  • Metamorphic virus

    A metamorphic virus is a type of malware that is capable of changing its code and signature patterns with each iteration.

SearchHealthIT

  • clinical trial

    A clinical trial, also known as a clinical research study, is a protocol to evaluate the effects and efficacy of experimental ...

  • Practice Fusion

    Practice Fusion Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that developed a free electronic health record (EHR) system available to ...

  • RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator)

    An RHIA, or registered health information administrator, is a certified professional who oversees the creation and use of patient...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • Red Hat OpenStack Platform

    Red Hat OpenStack Platform is a commercially supported distribution of open source OpenStack software designed to build and ...

  • storage medium (storage media)

    In computers, a storage medium is any technology -- including devices and materials -- used to place, keep and retrieve ...

  • Random Access Memory (RAM)

    Random Access Memory (RAM) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close