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Nanotech: The tiny revolution

This detailed overview by CMP Cientifica, one of Europe's largest information providers on nanotechnology, aims to introduce the wide variety of technologies falling under the nanotech umbrella and lay them out in a way that shows the scope and timing of their impacts. Intended for governments, venture capitalists, large corporations and scientists working in relevant disciplines, the paper looks at the field as a whole, current financing, and possible future directions.

The authors point out nanotechnology's tremendous diversity and applicability, emphasising that it is not just about miniaturisation, but also about rendering materials atomically exact. They show how developments are already being seen in drug delivery, solar energy, catalysts, coatings, bioanalysis tools and much more. As a result, the discipline already attracts funding approaching some US$4 billion a year from public and private sources.

Casting an eye over the technology's future, the authors see molecular nanotechnology — the manufacture of robotic machines on a molecular scale — as potentially hugely important. The possible problems thrown up by the self-replication of these machines are also briefly examined. The paper ends with a detailed summary of applications and an appendix listing milestones in the field.