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Nanotechnology is a part of science and technology about the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale – this means things that are about 100 nanometres across.

Nanotechnology includes making products that use parts this small, such as electronic devices, catalysts, sensors, etc. To give you an idea of how small that is, there are as many nanometres in a centimetre, as there are centimetres in 100 kilometres. Nanotechnology brings together scientists and engineers from many different subjects, such as applied physics, materials science, self-replicating machines and robotics, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, biology, biological engineering, and electrical engineering.

Generally, when people talk about nanotechnology, they mean structures of the size 100 nanometres or smaller. There are one million nanometres in a millimetre. Nanotechnology tries to make materials or machines of that size.

People are doing many different types of work in the field of nanotechnology. Most current work looks at making nanoparticles (particles with nanometre size) that have special properties, such as the way they scatter light, absorb X-rays, transport electrical currents or heat, etc. At the more “science fiction” end of the field are attempts to make small copies of bigger machines or really new ideas for structures that make themselves. New materials are possible with nano size structures. It is even possible to work with single atoms. There has been a lot of discussion about the future of nanotechnology and its dangers. Nanotechnology may be able to invent new materials and instruments which would be very useful, such as in medicine, computers, helping design the next generation of solar panels and efficient low-energy lighting. On the other hand, nanotechnology is new and there could be unknown problems. For example, if the materials are bad for people’s health or for nature. They may have a bad effect on the economy or even big natural systems like the Earth itself. Some groups argue that there should be rules about the use of nanotechnology.


Text adapted from Kids Wikipedia, which is in the public domain.


Using nanotechnology, you can make many things. Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the text as something that could be built as part of nanotechnology?