What is nanotechnology

Nanotechnology (or “nanotech”) is the use of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale for industrial purposes. On this page we aim to show you examples of nanotechnology and provide further information. This page is currently under construction.

Enabling technology

Examples of nanotechnology as an enabling technology


The growing number of elderly people, as well as the continuing overall growth in world population drives a strongly-growing demand for healthcare. The exploding costs of the healthcare system, the increasing demand and at the same time improving the quality of care, poses an insurmountable problem to the future of healthcare. Nanotechnology is an important gateway to the necessary radical change in the healthcare system.

New research based on food sciences, (molecular) biology, biochemistry and biophysics can strongly contribute to achieving this goal. These challenges in agriculture and food require an interdisciplinary approach of material sciences, life sciences, and social sciences.

For the material and life sciences it is particularly important to understand how molecules relate to system functionality. Research in this area focuses for example on molecules with sub-micron scale structures in food or processing devices acting on a micron scale. These devices break down food ingredients into their molecular constituents and control formation of sub-micron scale structures. Other research topics include the conditions during food processing and the resulting food quality properties, and a more precise monitoring of these conditions.

Sensors and actuators

The integration of sensors and actuators into larger systems can lead to new functionalities and more efficient production in many high-tech systems. The integration of these sensors allows for innovations in the fields of security and logistics. Similar solutions can also be used to monitor patients, to advance preventive healthcare, and to reduce costs in the medical field.


Advanced, high tech or value added materials play a crucial role as a driver for innovation in many industrial domains because they create new options throughout the entire production chain.

Nanomaterials describe, in principle, materials of which a single unit small sized (in at least one dimension) between 1 and 100 nm (the usual definition of nanoscale). Nanomaterials research takes a materials science-based approach to nanotechnology, leveraging advances in materials metrology and synthesis which have been developed in support of microfabrication research. Materials with structure at the nanoscale often have unique optical, electronic, thermo-physical or mechanical properties.

Beyond Moore

Science and technology in the Beyond Moore field builds upon and moves beyond what is currently possible at micro and nanometre scales in the electronics domain. This research addresses new electronics, spintronics, photonics, light generation and biological interfaces. Possible application areas include gas sensing, new memory and high frequency components, optical communication, drug screening and personal healthcare tools, diagnostic tools and light sources (OLEDs and LASERs).

Quantum computing

Quantum computing is the use of quantum phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. Computers that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers.[1]:I-5 Quantum computers are believed to be able to solve certain computational problems, such as integer factorization (which underlies RSA encryption), substantially faster than classical computers. The study of quantum computing is a subfield of quantum information science.