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THE LONG VIEW OF NANOTECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT: THE NATIONAL NANOTECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE AT 10 YEARS

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A global scientific and societal endeavor was set in motion by the nanotechnology vision formulated in 1999 that inspired the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and other national and international R&D programs. Establishing foundational knowledge at the nanoscale has been the main focus of the nanotechnology research community in the first decade.

As of 2009, this new knowledge underpinned about a quarter of a trillion dollars worldwide market, of which about $91 billion was in US products that incorporate nanoscale components.

Nanotechnology is already evolving toward becoming a general-purpose technology by 2020, encompassing four generations of products with increasing structural and dynamic complexity: (1) passive nanostructures, (2) active nanostructures, (3) nanosystems, and (4) molecular nanosystems. 

By 2020, the increasing integration of nanoscale science and engineering knowledge and of nanosystems promises mass applications of nanotechnology in industry, medicine, and computing, and in better comprehension and conservation of nature. 

Nanotechnology’s rapid development worldwide is a testimony to the transformative power of identifying a concept or trend and laying out a vision at the synergistic confluence of diverse scientific research areas. 

This chapter provides a brief perspective on the development of the NNI since 2000 in the international context, the main outcomes of the R&D programs after 10 years, the governance aspects specific to this emerging field, lessons learned, and most importantly, how the nanotechnology community should prepare for the future.


 

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