Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

Health significance of nanotechnologies

Funded under: FP6-NMP

Abstract

In the present advisory report, a Committee of the Health Council of the Netherlands explores the significance of nanoscience and nanotechnologies for human health. Addressing the associated opportunities and risks for individuals and society at large, the report suggests how to manage far-reaching developments in these areas.
Nanoscience and nanotechnologies represent a field of study that is currently attracting a great deal of attention. The prefix 'nano' refers to the nanometer (nm), one billionth of a metre. The unusual mechanical, optical, electrical, and magnetic properties exhibited by materials with dimensions in the range 100 nm down to around 0.1 nm (the size of a single atom) can differ markedly from the properties of the same materials at larger dimensions. In recent years, researchers have become increasingly adept at manipulating the shape and size of materials at the nanometre scale and have therefore been able to study and exploit these unusual properties.
In a 1959 lecture, physicist Richard Feynman was the first person to predict the opportunities presented by the manipulation of matter at the level of individual atoms and molecules. Although the term 'nanotechnology' was coined in 1974 by a Japanese engineer named Norio Taniguchi, it was the invention of the Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM) in the early 1980s that sparked the field's development.

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Record Number: 8114 / Last updated on: 2006-09-12
Category: MISC
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