Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at the molecular scale, where the properties of materials — things like melting point, fluorescence, electrical conductivity, magnetic permeability and chemical reactivity — are different. These differences are an example of "quantum effects" — effects that can be explained only by quantum mechanics, as opposed to classical physics.
Part of what makes nanotech so promising for so many applications is that these effects can be put to practical use: deploying gold nanoparticles to target tumors, for instance, where their unique optical properties can enable both precise imaging and targeted laser destruction.
Nanotech applications run the gamut from smart fabrics to precision medical treatments to improved methods for cleaning up the environment, as well as a host of uses in electronics.
October 9 is National Nanotech Day. Why? Watch our video to find out!