Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation, study, and application of materials on an atomic, molecular, or supramolecular scale, with dimensions typically measuring between 1 and 100 nanometers. This field of science involves the precise control and construction of nanoscale structures, enabling advancements in diverse areas such as electronics, medicine, and materials science. Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize industries by creating new materials and devices with enhanced properties or functions.

Key Takeaways

  1. Nanotechnology deals with the manipulation and creation of materials at an atomic or molecular scale, specifically those that are less than 100 nanometers in size.
  2. It has a wide range of applications, including medicine, electronics, energy production, and environmental protection, increasing efficiency and performance in numerous fields.
  3. Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field, as it combines principles from physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, and engineering to develop new materials and devices with unique properties.


Nanotechnology is important because it enables the manipulation, design, and engineering of materials and systems at the molecular and atomic level, leading to innovative solutions and substantial advancements in various fields.

By working at the nanoscale, scientists and engineers can develop high-performance materials, more efficient energy systems, precise drug-delivery mechanisms, and advanced electronic devices, among many other applications.

The vast potential of nanotechnology brings significant economic, environmental, and societal benefits by fostering developments in sectors such as healthcare, energy production, electronics, and manufacturing, altogether improving the quality of life and driving transformative changes in the world.


Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field of science and engineering focused on the manipulation and control of materials at the atomic and molecular scale, typically with sizes ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers, in order to create new and advanced materials, devices, and systems. The purpose of nanotechnology is to harness the unique mechanical, chemical, electrical, and optical properties of materials that are only accessible at the nanoscale in order to develop innovative solutions for a variety of applications across diverse industries.

Some of the key applications of nanotechnology include medicine, electronics, renewable energy, and environmental remediation. In medicine, for instance, nanotech is revolutionizing drug delivery systems by developing targeted nanoparticles that can transport medications directly to cancer cells while minimizing harm to healthy cells, thus improving treatment efficacy and reducing side effects.

In the electronics industry, nanotechnology has enabled the production of smaller and faster transistors, leading to more powerful and efficient devices. In the realm of renewable energy, nanoscale materials are used in the development of improved solar panels, batteries, and fuel cells to combat climate change.

Furthermore, nanotechnology can play a significant role in environmental protection by utilizing nanoparticles capable of breaking down or removing contaminants from water, air, and soil.

Examples of Nanotechnology

Nanomedicine – One real-world application of nanotechnology is in the field of medicine, specifically in the development of targeted drug delivery systems. For example, researchers have developed nanoparticles that can deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells, reducing the side effects on healthy cells and improving drug efficacy. Similarly, nanoparticles have been developed to deliver antigens for vaccines, promoting a more efficient immune response.

Nanomaterials – Nanotechnology has led to the development of new materials that exhibit novel properties due to their small size. For instance, carbon nanotubes are cylindrical nanostructures made of carbon atoms. These nanotubes are extremely lightweight, yet possess remarkable mechanical strength and electrical conductivity. Carbon nanotubes have found applications in various industries, such as aerospace, electronics, and energy storage.

Water purification – Nanotechnology has provided innovative solutions to water purification challenges. One example is the use of nanofiltration membranes, which consist of pores that are only a few nanometers in size, and can effectively remove contaminants from water, including bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals. These membranes are now being used in water treatment plants around the world to provide cleaner and safer drinking water.

Nanotechnology FAQ

What is nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is the branch of science, engineering, and technology that deals with particles and structures at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers in size. It involves the manipulation, study, and application of these tiny particles in various fields such as materials science, medicine, electronics, and renewable energy.

What are some applications of nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology has a wide range of applications across many industries. Some examples include targeted drug delivery systems in medicine, stronger and lighter materials for transportation and construction, advanced electronics with improved energy efficiency, and nanostructured surfaces for environmental and clean energy applications like water filtration and solar cells.

What are the potential benefits of nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology offers numerous potential benefits, including improved health and medical treatments, more efficient energy production and usage, reduced environmental pollution, enhanced computer and communication technologies, and the creation of new materials with unique properties and capabilities.

Are there any safety concerns or risks associated with nanotechnology?

As with any new technology, nanotechnology presents possible risks and challenges. These include potential toxicity and environmental impacts of nanomaterials, as well as ethical, social, and regulatory concerns associated with its development and use. Scientists and policymakers are working together to ensure responsible development and adoption of nanotechnologies while minimizing potential risks.

How does nanotechnology differ from traditional sciences?

Nanotechnology is unique because it focuses on the manipulation and control of matter at the atomic and molecular levels. This allows researchers to create new materials and devices with enhanced properties and capabilities that were not possible with traditional sciences and technologies. It combines principles from different fields like physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering to study and innovate at the nanoscale.

Related Technology Terms

  • Nanoparticles
  • Quantum dots
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Graphene
  • Molecular nanotechnology

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents