Introduction to Nanotechnology Student Handout
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This lesson was created to give you an introduction to nanotechnology.

I.  The Concept of Nanotechnology

Definition: Nanotechnology is the study and use of structures between 1 nanometer and 100 nanometers in size. 

Question: Can you think of fields where size or weight of materials or products is important?

Reading: Read the Nanotechnology Introduction page (

Discussion 1: Discuss the basic concepts of nanotechnology, which might include these topics:

2. Explore an Application of Nanotechnology

Discussion 2: Some scientific fields focus on one type of material or process, such as biology that focuses on living organisms and meteorology that focuses on the weather. What does nanotechnology focus on?

Research and Report:  Read one of the applications pages found in the navigation bar on the UnderstandingNano Web site (  Follow links on the site for additional information. Write a brief report on the application you studied. 

3. The Future of Nanotechnology

Explain that nanotechnology has the potential to be a disruptive technology, meaning that it could cause extreme change in our society that could have a variety of consequences. An example of this would be the industrial revolution, which changed the economy of most of our cultures from agrarian to manufacturing based.

Discussion 3: Pick one of these topics :

As directed by your teacher you can hold a discussion with the entire class, or break up into smaller groups with some groups making an argument for the benefits of these changes, and the other groups arguing the case that such changes would bring more harm than good to our society.

Optional Activity: Prepare a PowerPoint slide show for your arguments and present it to the class.

Conclusion: Nanotechnology offers great potential for advancement, and, as with any scientific breakthrough, it also raises ethical and societal questions.

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