The National Nanotechnology Initiative defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension of a size from 1 to 100 nanometers (1 nanometer is one billionth of a meter). The prefix, “nano” is from a Greek word meaning “dwarf.” The nanometer, which is the diameter of a helium atom, is the unit of measure to express dimensions on an atomic scale. It is also used to express the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation near the visible end of the light spectrum. Because the definition is based on size, the applications can include surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, energy storage, microfabrication, and microengineering, among others. Currently, scientists are interested in exploring the potential of nanotechnology to create new materials and devices in nanomedicine and biomaterials, nanoelectronics, energy production, and consumer products. Here, we explore some of the strides science is making in these fields.
Tomorrow’s engineers and today’s innovators are pursuing specialized education and career options that were never available, until now. The future is here. Technology that was once considered science fiction is reality—uniting engineering and medicine in cross-disciplinary collaborations is revolutionizing the field of prosthetics.