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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Spy-Ops > The military is all over Nanotechnology

Kevin Coleman
Technology Analyst

The military was early to appreciate the significant potential of nanotechnology. In fact, the military has spent more money on nanotechnology research than for any other area. This investment is beginning to pay off.

April 14th, 2010

The military is all over Nanotechnology

Over the next 10 years computer and networking breakthroughs that are based on nanotechnology will redefine a new level in the way computers are produced, their size and performance. Several authorities feel that nanotechnology accelerates the already breakneck-speed of the smaller-cheaper-faster progression of the computer industry.

Figure 1 above illustrates the projected technology maturity model for nanotechnology.
Many believe that Nanotechnology is on the edge of ushering the age of miniaturization. That is expected to lead to wearable computers, sensors, networking, miniature robots and intelligent munitions. NanoSensors and NanoSensor Networks are expected to dramatically increase the surveillance capabilities of the intelligence community in the next several years as well. These breakthroughs and far reaching implications combine to make Nanotechnology research and development a highly targeted area for espionage and intellectual property theft.

It is clear that Nanotechnology will be one important aspect of the race for military superiority and will contribute the effectiveness and efficiency of cyber weapons and defenses. The United States currently leads the world in nanotechnology research and development. However, a recent article in the Stratghts Times stated the United States leads in nanotech and their lead is eroding. It goes on to suggest that the U.S. urgently needs to invest more in nanotechnology if it is to maintain its global lead, according to a report issued on Thursday to President Barack Obama.


FACT: Military application of Nanotechnology might lead to lighter weight equipment and weapons, smaller cheaper faster computers, smarter field devices, protective coatings and more deadly weaponry.

FACT: Nanotechnology is reducing the physical size of smart weapons while increasing their abilities to distinguish its target from the background and creates a highly precision weapon that has low dispersion.

FACT: The U.S. Army Research Office funded the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN) at MIT as an interdepartmental research center for five-years with a $50 million per year contract.

Figure 1 above illustrates the projected technology maturity model for nanotechnology.

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