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Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The easiest widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macro scale products. A generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension size from 1 to 100 nanometers. This reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale.

Nanotechnology as defined by size is naturally very broad, including fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics and micro fabrication. The associated research and applications are equally diverse. These range from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly.

There are several important modern developments in nanotechnology. The atomic force microscope and the Scanning Tunneling Microscope are two early versions of scanning probes that launched nanotechnology. The tip of the scanning probe can be used to manipulate nanostructures. Feature-oriented scanning methodology suggests that it’s a promising way to implement these nanomanipulations in automatic mode.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies estimates that over 800 manufacturer-identified nanotech products are publicly available with new ones hitting the market at a pace of 3-4 per week. The project lists all of the products in a publicly accessibly online database.  Further applications allow tennis balls to last longer, golf balls to fly straighter and even bowling balls to become more durable and have a harder surface.