Nanotechnology is science conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers…. extremely small particles. (Sounds like a bit of science fiction from Star Trek, doesn’t it?). One nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or 10 (-9) of a meter. A good example is a sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.
It all started with a talk entitled, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” by physicist Richard Feynman at an American Physical Society meeting at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) on December 29, 1959.
However, it was not until 1981, with the development of a microscope that could “see” the individual atoms, that modern nanotechnology began. Beginning in 1999 and early 2000’s, consumer products began using nanotechnology. In 2000, President Clinton launched the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and in 2003 Congress enacted the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (P.L. 208-153) to provide a foundation for the NNI and promote research and other activities.