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 to learn more about nanotechnology and what it means for our future.


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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 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 to see how ACS celebrated Nano Day 2017.

Image Gallery

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

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.

The Littlest Flash Drive
Memory devices like this one use single atoms to store bits of data, making them 500 times more efficient than current commercial hard drives.

All That Glitters
Nanoscale structures interfere with light, a phenomenon called structural color.  As water evaporates, the structures - and resulting colors - change.

Supressing Leukemia Proliferation
Chimeric nanoparticles fight leukemia by simultaneously inactivating a pro-survival protein and inducing a cell death-promoting protein in the target cell.


Silver Branches
Tiny silver "branches", known as fractal dendrites, can be used as the conductive part of the delicate circuits required for flexible electronics.

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

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

Cancer Cell Deformability and Proliferation
Researchers have used 3D nanoprinted arcs to study how metastatic cancer cells squeeze through small spaces to invade new tissues.