First envisioned by physicist Richard Feynman in the late 1950s, the concept of nanotechnology originally referred to the capability of building, constructing, or manufacturing things with ultraprecision from the bottom atomic level, up to the macro-level.
Today, nanotechnology refers to the engineering of functioning systems on a nanoscale – an extremely small scale measuring about 1 to 100 nanometers wherein 1 nanometer is equivalent to 1 billionth of a meter. Nanotechnology involves seeing, analyzing, and manipulating of molecules and atoms to understand structures better and make improvements based on the information gathered.
Sometimes referred to as general-purpose technology, nanotechnology can affect almost all aspects of life as we know it. Ideally, it can provide us with more efficient products, structures, and systems for use in the field of medicine, electronics, science, transportation, communications, agriculture, and other commercial industries.