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January 14th, 2005

The Meaning of Nanotechnology

Virtually every previous technological improvement has been accomplished by making things smaller and more precise. But as the scales at which we work get smaller and smaller, we approach limits imposed by physics. The smallest unit of matter we can build with is the atom, or combinations of atoms known as molecules. The earthshaking insight of nanotechnology is that, when we reach this scale, we can reverse direction and begin building from the bottom up, making products by placing individual atoms and molecules exactly where we want them.

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