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 nanotechnologywhen talking about true nanotechnology at the molecular level.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
List of free online Java courses for students and IT professionals looking to enhance their skills . Read More »SEO Dictionary
From keyword analysis to backlinks and Google search engine algorithm updates, our search engine optimization glossary lists 85 SEO terms you need... Read More »Slideshow: History of Microsoft Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. In this article we look at the history of Microsoft operating... Read More »
Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »Java Basics, Part 2
This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »The 7 Layers of the OSI Model
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »