First used by Japanese professor Norio Taniguchi in 1974, the term nanotechnology was coined to help navigate the realm of atoms and molecules, and describe objects and processes in that realm by using a very small numerical scale. One nanometer (nm) is one billionth, or 10-9, of a meter. The ratio of a nanometer to a meter can best be imagined as the size of a marble to the size of the earth.

The advent of nanotechnology was dependent on the availability of such devices as the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and the atomic force microscope (AFM). Once scientists had access to these devices, nanotechnology, with its wide array of possibilities, became an area of impact. The impact of nanotechnology lies in its scale of manipulation, since materials built at the scale of 10-9 meter have distinctive physical and chemical characteristics. Naturally, this means that multiple fields have benefitted with research and development of materials in the nanometer domain.

With respect to medicine, nano-materials have and continue to benefit immensely. Applications include drug and gene delivery, biodetection of foreign cells, probing of DNA structure, tissue engineering, tumor detection as well as molecular imaging (Rajiv Saini, 2010, p. 32).

As for food, nanotechnology has an impact on various elements of food production and science. Companies continue to develop refined tastes and edible goods that not only affect the taste of the food but also change the nutrition count in each bite.
At the same time, nanotechnology is a significant contributor in the area of environmental sustainability, since it has closed the gap between fossil fuels and fuel production by catalyzing better and more fuel but from a smaller amount of natural resource. Along with this, clean water has become more accessible with nano-engineering. Nanoparticles can also be used to treat the contaminating chemical
through a chemical process, so as to neutralize its harmful effects and that too at a lower cost.

And whilst nanotechnology already has an industrial and academic audience, various governments are keen to enter this domain: policy makers and analysts belonging to different states continue to monitor the competitive global nanotechnology landscape for a strategic upper hand in security and defense research (Chen, 2009, p. 169).

Surprisingly, the benefits of nanotechnology are nowhere near finished and various sectors continue to invest in this area. And because areas of research continue to evolve and overlap, it makes apparent how multidisciplinary a field nanotechnology is.

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