What is nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is science, engineering and technology conducted at the nanoscale, about 1 to 100 nanometers. How small is that? Pretty small: a single sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick!

At the nano level, scientists and engineers look to control individual atoms and molecules to do some pretty amazing things. Right now, researchers are using nanotechnology to push boundaries and solve major challenges in energy, health, materials science and more. Use these resources on this page to learn more about nanotechnology and what it means for our future.


Constructing the Nanoworld

Constructing the Nanoworld - Progress and Challenges in Material Design
Wednesday October 9, 2019 10:00 AM ET

ACS Publications is thrilled to join the worldwide scientific community in celebrating this year's National Nanotechnology Day. This annual initiative, launched in 2016, raises awareness of the prominent role nanoscience plays in our daily lives as well as the current limitations and promising, foreseeable applications for the future.

As has become our tradition, we will be hosting a free National Nanotechnology Day webinar. This year, we highlight the many applications and varieties of nanomaterials that are currently being researched around the globe. Our world-renowned experts will describe some of the latest developments in biomedical applications, synthesis, and additive manufacturing of nanomaterials. They will also discuss the current state of the ever-expanding field of nanoscience and give insight into the challenges that lie ahead.


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National Meetings

ACS National Meetings bring together thousands of chemists from around the world to present their work. Check out some of the lectures on nanotechnology.


World’s Tiniest ‘Monster Truck’ Reveals Surprising Discovery

A New Way to Diagnose Prenatal Conditions

Fighting Back Against Cancer

Electronics from Paper

Using nano to improve mammograms

Nano applications fight allergies

Classroom Resources 


High School

National Historic Chemical Landmarks



ACS works with Editors to create online collections of previously published research on areas of current scientific interest. The collections are designed not only for experienced investigators but also as a tool to teach students about the diverse areas of the chemical sciences. Check out some of our articles and collections on nanotechnology!



It is estimated that by 2020, 2 million workers in the U.S. will have nanotechnology-related jobs and the U.S. market value of products using nanotechnology will be $1 trillion, or 5% of the GDP.

College to Career: Find out how to get a job in nanochemistry.

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National Nanotechnology Day

October 9 is National Nanotechnology Day in honor of the nanometer scale, 10-9 meters. The goal of Nano Day is to raise awareness of nanotechnology, how it is currently used in products that enrich our daily lives, and the challenges and opportunities it holds for the future.

Learn more and see how ACS celebrated Nano Day 2017.

Federal Support

Federal support is vital to nanotechnology research. The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is responsible for coordinating a $23 billion initiative that spans 20 Federal agencies. Learn more about the NNCO.

Image Gallery

World's Smallest Periodic Table
At only 14 by 7 μm, this teeny tiny table was etched on a silicon chip using scanning electron microscopy in honor of the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT).

Nanoparticle Carrier
Nanoparticles, in green, were incubated with red blood cells from mice. When reinjected through an arterial catheter, the carrier blood cells accumulate in the nearest organ which could have applications in drug delivery.

Acoustic Protein Nanostructures
Gas vesicles are gas-filled nanostructures.  They scatter sound waves and have customizable shells, making them potential ultrasound contrast agents.

Silver Nanoflowers
This image was the winner of C&EN’s National Nano Day Photo Contest in 2017. Scientists at Wilfrid Laurier University made these flower-shaped silver nanoparticles. Each flower is roughly 300 nm in diameter.

"Icephobic" Aluminum
This blue ice crystal is embedded in an aluminum alloy surface that has been laser textured and chemically coated to help create a surface that is resistant to ice coating, making it useful for aviation.

Tiny Turtle
This happy, 9-μm-wide turtle is made from a titanium carbide (Ti3C2) MXene particle.

Quantum Chemistree
Semiconductor nanoparticle called quantum dots make up this festive tree. By changing the size of the particles which are chemically identical, researchers can modify electronic properties including their color.

Forming Good Habits
Scientists at Merck & Co. in Rahway, N.J., are researching these crystals, which were made by crystallizing the same small-molecule drug candidate yet have noticeably different shapes, or crystal habits.

Nano Bible
Measuring in at 20 nm thick and 0.04 mm² in area, the world’s smallest Bible can only be read with a microscope.

(Really) Tiny House
Jean-Yves Rauch and colleagues at FEMTO-ST Institute constructed this 15-μm-tall house out of thin silica membranes. The team used a dual-beam scanning electron microscope and focused ion beam to erect the teeny domicile.

Nanoroses in Bloom
These exquisite nanoroses were created from common borax exposed to high temperatures and oleic acid. Under different reaction conditions, different structures can be formed.

Infographic: Everyday Uses of Nanotechnology
A look at various consumer products that utilize nanotechnology and the chemistry behind them.