Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » N »

nanotechnology

A field of science whose goal is to control individual atoms and molecules to create computer chips and other devices that are thousands of times smaller than current technologies permit. Current manufacturing processes use lithography to imprint circuits on semiconductor materials. While lithography has improved dramatically over the last two decades -- to the point where some manufacturing plants can produce circuits smaller than one micron (1,000 nanometers) -- it still deals with aggregates of millions of atoms. It is widely believed that lithography is quickly approaching its physical limits. To continue reducing the size of semiconductors, new technologies that juggle individual atoms will be necessary. This is the realm of nanotechnology.

Although research in this field dates back to Richard P. Feynman's classic talk in 1959, the term nanotechnology was first coined by K. Eric Drexler in 1986 in the book Engines of Creation.

In the popular press, the term nanotechnology is sometimes used to refer to any sub-micron process, including lithography. Because of this, many scientists are beginning to use the term molecular nanotechnology when talking about true nanotechnology at the molecular level.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
LATEST ARTICLES
8 Agenda Apps to Help Students Stay Organized

Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »

20 Ways to Shorten a URL

If you need to shorten a long URL try this list of 20 free online redirection services. Read More »

Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015

The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »

STUDY GUIDES
Computer Architecture Study Guide

This Webopedia  study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »

Network Fundamentals Study Guide

Networking fundamentals teaches the building blocks of modern network design. Learn different types of networks, concepts, architecture and... Read More »

The Five Generations of Computers

Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the current devices that we use today. Read More »