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Home > News > Technology making a splash: Nanotechnology works on such a small scale it allows scientists to harness the precision of nature – the benefits are almost limitless. But, asks Penny Sarchet, what are the risks?
April 1st, 2012
Technology making a splash: Nanotechnology works on such a small scale it allows scientists to harness the precision of nature – the benefits are almost limitless. But, asks Penny Sarchet, what are the risks?
Nanotechnology is engineering of the very small, at dimensions we have never explored before. The 20th century was transformed by technology that worked on the level of one millionth of a metre, allowing us to study bacteria and metal crystals, and to invent jet engines and silicon microchips.
Nanotechnology works at a scale one thousand times smaller still. It is a new frontier for the 21st century.
"All the rules change," says Mark Miodownik, professor of materials and society at University College London. "Different physical laws dominate, ones we're not used to thinking about at our scale. Gravity is irrelevant and you don't have to worry about joining things together because they'll stick to each other naturally."
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