What are the origins of Nanotechnology?

Nano technology has its origins in the properties of Atoms, or Atomic Physics.

One of the first to describe this future technology discipline was Dr. Richard Feynman, of CalTech.

The idea is that Atoms can form specialized materials and structures which can self-assemble and therefore be used in existing applications.

Richard Feynman, an American physicist, held a lecture in 1959 at Caltech where he discussed a lecture which was called "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom". The concepts of his lecture inspired the first thoughts about nanotechnology.

The first person to use the term "nanotechnology" was a Japanese scientist called Norio Taniguchi, who works at Tokyo University of Science. That was in 1974. He used the term to describe the separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one atom at a time.

The person to use the term nanotechnology as it is defined today was K. Eric Drexler in 1980, who is an American scientist in engineering. He was unaware that Norio Taniguchi had already previously used the word to describe something different. However, Eric's definition is the one that stuck.

During the 1980's, nanotechnology and nanoscience developed a large amount of scientific interest, mainly due to the birth of cluster science and the invention of the scanning tunnelling microscope. These eventually led to the invention and construction of carbon nanotubes. Hence, nanotechnology is born.