nano·​tech·​nol·​o·​gy | \ ˌna-nō-tek-ˈnä-lə-jē How to pronounce nanotechnology (audio) \

Definition of nanotechnology

: the manipulation of materials on an atomic or molecular scale especially to build microscopic devices (such as robots) Placing atoms as though they were bricks, nanotechnology will give us complete control over the structure of matter, allowing us to build any substance or structure permitted by the laws of nature.Science News Once the province of science fiction, nanotechnology, the science of assembling materials one atom at a time, is now the rage among Silicon Valley investors.— Karen Breslau

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Other Words from nanotechnology

nanotechnological \ ˌna-​nō-​ˌtek-​nə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce nanotechnological (audio) \ adjective
nanotechnologist \ ˌna-​nō-​tek-​ˈnä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce nanotechnologist (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Nanotechnology, or nanotech for short, deals with matter at a level that most of us find hard to imagine, since it involves objects with dimensions of 100 billionths of a meter (1/800th of the thickness of a human hair) or less. The chemical and physical properties of materials often change greatly at this scale. Nanotechnology is already being used in automobile tires, land-mine detectors, and computer disk drives. Nanomedicine is a particularly exciting field: Imagine particles the size of a blood cell that could be released into the bloodstream to form into tiny robots and attack cancer cells, or "machines" the size of a molecule that could actually repair the damaged interiors of individual cells.

Examples of nanotechnology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Earlier this year Charles Lieber, then chair of Harvard University's chemistry department and a nanotechnology expert, was arrested and charged with lying to federal law-enforcement officials about secretly working for the Chinese government. Mary Sue Coleman, Scientific American, "How Universities Can Keep Foreign Governments from Stealing Intellectual Capital," 1 July 2020 Some New England properties in the Ocean House Management Collection will add Molekule plug-in virus zappers, which use nanotechnology to destroy pollutants, including mold, viruses and bacteria. Linda Laban, USA TODAY, "Can cleaning tech make people feel safe at hotels amid the coronavirus pandemic?," 9 June 2020 Scientists led by Xing Wang, a biochemist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, constructed a flexible scaffold using DNA nanotechnology to mirror the proteins' arrangement on a hemisphere of the viral surface. Harini Barath, Scientific American, "New Test Uses DNA Trap to Detect Dengue," 14 Apr. 2020 Its central character, a former soldier named Ray Garrison (Diesel), is brought back to life with nanotechnology that gives him superhuman strength and the ability to immediately be healed by microscopic robots. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "‘Bloodshot’ has plenty of brawn, but lacks brains," 12 Mar. 2020 This advance in nanotechnology could be a game-changer in the world of pharmaceuticals. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "We Can Learn a Lot from the Twisted Molecules in Seashells," 30 Sep. 2019 Curran is well-renowned for his work in nanotechnology using a hydrophobic coating to improve the protection of surgical masks to prevent the transmission of the virus. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "UH professor develops innovative water-proofing for N95 masks to combat spread of COVID-19," 2 Apr. 2020 Some metamaterials built using nanotechnology can also be used as super strength materials. Popular Science, "China’s new stealth fighter uses powerful materials with geometry not found in nature," 22 Mar. 2018 He's been rebuilt using nanotechnology, made faster and stronger than ever with the help of microscopic nanites in his bloodstream that give him the ability to instantly regenerate, even after his body sustains catastrophic damage. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch in theaters or stream at home this weekend," 13 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nanotechnology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nanotechnology

1974, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for nanotechnology

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The first known use of nanotechnology was in 1974

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nanotechnology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce nanotechnology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nanotechnology

technical : the science of working with atoms and molecules to build devices (such as robots) that are extremely small

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