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December 29th, 2004

Small wonders

Nanotechnology does not derive from a single scientific discipline. Although it probably has most in common with materials science, the properties of atoms and molecules underpin many areas of science, so the field attracts scientists of different disciplines. Worldwide, around 20,000 people are estimated to be working in nanotechnology, but the sector is hard to define. Small-scale work in electronics, optics and biotechnology may have been relabelled “nanobiotechnology”, “nano-optics” and “nanoelectronics” because nano-anything has become fashionable.

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