The prefix “nano” means one billionth. A nanometer (nm) is a unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter. A single strand of hair is over 100,000 nm in diameter. A cubic nanometer of diamond contains 176 carbon atoms. This demonstrates just how small things can be. As Richard Feynman put it so well in 1959, “There is plenty of room at the bottom”.
The term Nanotechnology has been expanded to include essentially everything under 100 nanometers in size, which includes many devices, including all electronic chips. MMEI is focused more on the original ideas of nanotechnology, sometimes called Molecular Nanotechnology, Molecular Manufacturing, or Atomically-Precise Manufacturing.
Molecular nanotechnology involves manipulating structures with atomic precision. A place for every atom, and every atom in its place, so to speak. By building bottom-up with atomic precision it is possible to make materials with extraordinary properties. By working at a molecular level in a directed fashion, tremendous advantages are possible over any manufacturing methods currently available. A taste of these advantages is provided in the book Unbounding the Future – The Nanotechnology Revolution, written by Eric Drexler and Chris Peterson with Gayle Pergamit. The scientific merit behind this work has been thoroughly documented in a broad spectrum of scientific literature, including the excellent summary provided in Eric Drexler’s book Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation.