Nanotechnology falls in multidisciplinary Engineering and Technology field. The materials and devices in nanotechnology area, are so small that we cannot see the same even with a light microscope. Nano-technological products and techniques have already started developing for commercial application and various patents have been taken by the innovators. The consumer products are already available on nano-scale.


A centimeter is one – hundredth of a meter, a millimeter is one- thousandth of a meter and a micrometer is one –millionth of a meter, but a nanometer (nm) is one-billionth of a meter, smaller than the wavelength of visible light. The concept of developing nanotechnology is to create technology at atomic and molecular scale.

Nanotechnology is an Engineering and Technology area, having its goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for manufacturing nano scale products with nano scale techniques. Among various concepts in nanotechnology, one important one is building products using bottom up technology, to suggest a new method that assembles individual atoms into products, for which there is a requirement of nano-manipulators.


In 1959, Richard Feynman delivered a talk on “Building Molecular Machines”, with atomic precision. In 1974, the “nanotechnology” term was used by Taniguchi. Some sequences of development of nanotechnology, are stated below:


Molecular Nanotechnology concept developed by Drexler


First Technical paper


One Book published


First Conference


One Journal published


First European Conference


One DNA based Nano-mechanical Device developed


$ 100 million US Research Grant


Policy Conference in US on Advanced Nanotechnology


An improved working DNA Nano-robot developed


One programmable nano-wire circuit developed for nano-processors

Four generations of developments are presented in the table below:

Name of Generations


1st: Passive Nano-structure before 2000

Production of Aerosols and Colloids as Dispersed

and contact Nano-structures, Development of

Coatings & Nano-particles as nano-structured

metals, polymers, ceramics

2nd : Active Nano-structure between 2001 and


Development of Bio-Device, 3D Transistors,

Amplifiers, Actuators

3rd: Nano-systems

3D Networking and Robotics Development

4th : Molecular Nano-systems

Atomic Design and Molecular Devices

Further developments in various fields are now a practical reality, and several developments are in progress.


The multidisciplinary fields of nanotechnology include Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Material Science and many areas of Engineering/Technology. The developments of nanosystems have already taken place in the following areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Nanoscale materials

  • Molecular manufacturing

  • Nano-medicine

  • Nano-electronics

  • Nano-Computer & Computing

  • Nano-sensors

  • Nano-instruments

  • Nano-packaging

  • Nano-materials and coatings in Civil Engineering Construction

  • Nano-systems in Aviation

  • Space Technology


Development of nano-materials for Civil Engineering construction having size of 10-9m is in progress. In Civil Engineering, nano-technology has the potential for application in coatings, prevention of corrosion, development of long lasting and durable materials for road construction and maintenance.


In 19th century, industrial revolution started with development of Steam Engine. Nanotechnology will bring sensational revolution when nano-scale machines will be developed. Nano-scale robotic submarines are being developed which will remain sub-merged in blood stream of human beings, with the aim to kill cancerous cells. Nano-scale factories will be set up showing new industrial growth.


Nano-technological innovations are making impact on wide areas of Electrical Engineering. Electrical Power Engineering has a very high potential for nano-technology applications. Ultra low resistivity conductors, the influence of nano-filters for insulating materials and nano-coatings for hydrophobic surfaces are potential research areas for nanotechnology development in the field of Electrical Engineering


The uncertainly involved to convince the consumers that there is no risk involved for consumption of nano-foods, is creating some difficulties to judge whether development of nano-foods has a high potential or not. Nanotechnology, however, has already established its useful application in nano-packaging, Development of nano-food diets, for medical treatment of some diseases is in progress.


Among all areas of applications of nano-technology concept, the field of Electronics and Communication Engineering has a very high potential for adopting nano-systems, nano-devices and nano-communications. It is projected that, by 2015, transistor size will be 10nm with innovation in Silicon Technology. The development of nano-sensors, nano-tubes, nano-scale antennae and ambience intelligence in wireless industries is creating revolution in Communication Technology. The devices such as nano-scale transistors, semiconductors, flash memory, wave interference and switching, are bringing practical reality for nano-technology concept.


Computer Science & Engineering is a very high potential area for nanotechnology revolution. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that carries genetic information for biological development. The development of Silicon based nano-computers with DNA computing will be practical reality soon. Researchers have successfully created nano-devices for application in Computer Science & Engineering field, by using nano fabrication techniques.

Nano-robot is a device with robotic arms, motors, sensors and nano-computers. It will be a nano-assembler to work at nanometer scale, which will bring revolution in the area of Computer Science & Engineering and Automation.


Several generations of developments have already taken place and further developments are already in progress. This emerging area has a very high potential for technological revolution in near future.


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T. Andritsch, Nanotechnology in Electrical Engineering, Diploma Thesis 2006, TU Graz

K.E.Drexler, 1986. Engines of Creation: the Coming Era of Nanotechnology. Anchor Press.

K.E.Drexler, C. Peterson and G.Pergamit, 1991. Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution.

G.M.Whitesides and J. C. Love, 2001. “The Art of Building Small”. Scientific American, September.

K.E. Drexler, 2001. “Machine-Phase Nanotechnology”. Scientific American, September.

G.Stix, 2001.“Little Big Science”. Scientific American, September.

P. Rai-Choudhury (Ed), 1997. Handbook of Microlithography, Micromachining and Microfabrication.

M.A.Reed and J.M. Tour, 2000. “Computing with Molecules”. Scientific American, June.

K.E. Drexler, 1992. Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation. Wiley.

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Institute of Nanotechnology- provides substantial list of nano sites

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Nanotechnology Applications to Telecommunications and Networking, Daniel Minoli.

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Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology March 2001,


By : Dr. N. K. KOLE

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