|A Capsule Version of: Nanomanufacturing--Emergence and Implications for U.S. Competitiveness, the Environment, and Human Health
Nanotechnology has been defined as the control or restructuring of matter at the atomic and molecular levels in the size range of about 1-100 nanometers (nm); 100 nm is about 1/1000th the width of a hair. The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), begun in 2001 and focusing primarily on R&D, represents a cumulative investment of almost $20 billion, including the request for fiscal year 2014. As research continues and other nations increasingly invest in R&D, nanotechnology is moving from the laboratory to commercial markets, mass manufacturing, and the global marketplace--a trend with potential future import that some compare to history's introduction of technologies with major economic and societal impact, such as plastics and even electricity. Today, burgeoning markets, innovation systems, and nanomanufacturing activities are increasingly competitive in a global context--and the potential EHS effects of nanomanufacturing remain largely unknown.