Nanotechnology refers to a range of technology trends that have in common that they involve material engineering in the 1 to 100 nanometer (1/1000,000th to 1/10,000th of a millimeter) range. These technologies allow the fabrication of 3-dimensional micro-electromechanical devices (MEMs) with very small features sizes, often showing unique functionality.

Nanotechnology is further driven by the invention and exploration of new materials, such as carbon nanotubes, which use manipulation at the single molecule or even at the single atom level to produce devices with very high performance or special features. Other new materials, especially based on functional polymers, enable nanoscale engineering by exploring specific interaction between dedicated molecules for bottom-up creation of nanostructures. Sub-micrometer control of material structures opens the way to novel properties based on quantum-size effects and spatial confinement, leading to a range of new product options.