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Nanotechnology

Glossary

Computational nanotechnology
The computational design and modeling of molecular machines and devices.

Molecular engineering, Molecular manufacturing
Synonyms for nanotechnology, the construction of new materials and devices by arranging or building structures atom by atom or molecule by molecule.

Molecular self assembly
A process or technique to permit molecular building blocks to assemble themselves in pre-designed ways.

Nano, Nanoscale
A billionth of some unit of scale.

Nanometer
A billionth of a meter, about the size of 10 hydrogen atoms side by side.

Nanostructures
Structures with dimensions less than 1,000 nanometers, the diameter of a typical biological cell.

Nanotubes
Structures with diameters of about one nanometer, or one ten-thousandth of that of a human hair. Researchers have developed carbon nanotubes that can be used as structural materials, electronic components and drug-delivery systems.

Scanning tunneling microscope
One type of atomic resolution microscope in which electrons "tunnel" between the microscopes superfine tip and the surface, making possible the construction of atomic or molecular landscapes.

Scanning probe microscope
A term used to describe atomic resolution spectroscopes and microscopes that are used to produce images on surface structures, like the scanning tunneling microscope, to analyze the identities of molecules and atoms on surfaces, or to manipulate atoms into structures one atom at a time.