Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (NC&T)

Properties of matter are ruled, below certain critical dimensions, by quantum mechanics and by the effects of finite size. The properties of materials the structure of which has been modified at nanometric scale may be quite different from those they would present in the macroscopic realm. Such special properties make of them a new scientific paradigm.

A thorough understanding of the behaviour of matter at both the atomic and the molecular scales is possible nowadays thanks to the wide background of theories and models existing to this end. This is also true of the behaviour of matter at microscopic level. There is, however, an entire field yet to be explored just in the middle, where systems present dimensions of about, or below, 100 nanometers. A large number of processes and phenomena, such as the ones which take place during catalysis, or the ones observable in molecular biology, electronics, magnetism, or optics, present similar lengths as well. A wide range of properties having their origins in the processes which take place in such scale lengths can be modified just by controlling the structure of systems at nanometric scale. The manufacturing and the study of nanosystems which may offer alternative functional properties are therefore the biggest challenges which nanoscience and nanotechnology set before us today, and we can face them with the help of the wide knowledge we already have in these disciplines and of a large choice of methodologies. The various applications of nanotechnologies are more evident each day, and their growing impact on our everyday lives shall definitely not stop.

Here follow some of the fields where nanotechnologies can be applied:

· Biomedicine and biotechnology
· Information technologies
· Energy production and storage
· Materials Science
· Nanoscale Production
· Design and manufacture of devices for the study of nanostuctured materials
· Research on food, water and environment
· Security systems
· Catalysis