Nanotechnology is a newborn discipline that seeks to understand, manipulate, control, and exploit novel properties of materials at the nanometer scale, the scale of atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology seems to have the answer to the growing need for the miniaturization of mechanical and electronic components with the aim of producing smaller, lighter, quicker, and more efficient devices.
Key to understand the unique power and potential of nanotechnology is that, in addition to the numerous advantages provided by this scale of miniaturization, quantum effects at this size range provide additional novel properties. Thus, with only a reduction in size, materials can exhibit new properties such as electrical conductivity, elasticity, greater strength, different colour and greater reactivity, which the same substances do not exhibit at the micro or macroscale.
Nanotechnology is a highly diverse and multidisciplinary field involving physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and materials science, among other fields. Nanotechnology has the potential to create new devices with wide-ranging applications in medicine, electronics, energy production, environment issues, etc.
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology related projects are currently receiving vast amounts of research funding from governments and industries all over the world. Even modest predictions estimate an over 30% future average growth rate per year in nanotechnology. This growth potential is expected to create new jobs at different occupational levels in coming years: for researchers and scientists holding university and post-graduate degrees and also for a wide range of technicians. Education and training is essential to bring forward a new generation of researchers and other skilled workers with the interdisciplinary R&D approach that nanotechnology needs.