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    Rights: The Royal Society, TVNZ 7 in partnership with the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.
    Published 26 September 2016 Referencing Hub media

    This is a simple explanation of what nanotechnology is and what its future applications might be.


    What is nanotechnology?

    It’s a branch of science with the goal of harnessing individual atoms and molecules to create computer chips and other devices thousands of times smaller than they are now.

    The size of a nanometre compared to a metre is equivalent to a marble compared to the size of the earth.

    Scientists are experimenting with these tiny substances to learn how they behave and how we could take advantage of them

    Nanotechnology is already being used commercially – for instance to make self cleaning glass that washes clean with each shower of rain.

    In the future, it could have a big impact on energy generation, water treatment and pollution control.

    But some of the most fascinating applications might be in medicine. Tiny nano-robots could be programmed to act like antibodies and ingested into the human body with a mission to seek out and destroy cancer cells or viruses.

    And that’s nanotechnology.