Skip Over Navigation Links

Research & Training

Nanotechnology at NIH

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is defined as the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, a scale at which unique properties of materials emerge that can be used to develop novel technologies and products. At the nanoscale, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials differ from the properties of matter either at smaller scales, such as atoms, or at larger scales that we use in everyday life such as millimeters or inches. Nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter only a few nanometers in size.

Animation Transcript:

  • start with a tennis ball—
    1 times ten to the eight nanometers
  • about ten times smaller is a marble—
    1 times ten to the seventh nanometers
  • about ten times smaller is the head of a pin—
    1 times ten to the sixth nanometers
  • about ten times smaller it the width of a human hair—
    1 times ten to the fifth nanometers
  • about ten times smaller is a cell—
    1 times ten to the fourth nanometers
  • about ten times smaller is bacterium—
    1 times ten to the third nanometers
  • about ten times smaller is a virus—
    1 times ten to the two nanometers
  • about ten times smaller is a nano device—
    1 times ten to the one nanometers

Back to the Nanotechnology page

Nanotechnology brochure thumbnail Innovative Medical Research at the Molecular Scale (PDF - 2.3MB)

Nanotechnology brochure thumbnail New Understanding, New Capabilities, & New Approaches for Improving Health (PDF - 650KB)

Other Resources

Learn more about Nanotechnology at NIH (NIBIB)

Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine Applications for Vision (NEI)

Nanotechnology at NIH: Basic Concepts, Current Research, and Medical Applications (VIDEOCAST | 08:30:00 )
The all-day Nanotechnology Symposium offers an introduction to nanotechnology—what it is, what it isn’t, and how it impacts medicine with examples of major programs supported by NIH.

Symposium Agenda External Web Site Policy

Other NanoWeek 2009 Activities External Web Site Policy

Abiotic/Biotic Interface Workshop Notes (PPT - 66KB) - April 8, 2009

This page last reviewed on February 25, 2011

Social Media Links