Nanotechnology and You


Nanotechnology is changing the world and the way we live, creating scientific advances and new products that are smaller, faster, stronger, safer, and more reliable. After about 20 years of steady progress in nanotechnology research and development, scientists in the United States and around the world have a much clearer picture of how to create nanoscale materials with properties never before envisioned. Scientists and engineers are exploring exciting new discoveries at the nanoscale every day.

Benefits and Applications

Nanotechnology research will have a significant, positive impact on our world.

Environmental, Health, and Safety Issues

The NNI and its member agencies are committed to the responsible development of nanotechnology.

Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues

The potential societal, ethical, and legal implications of nanotechnology are an important NNI issue.

Federal Legislation & Congressional Info

Congress and the Executive Branch fund nanotechnology R&D and establish policies and regulations that affect nano-enabled products and materials.

International Engagement

NNI agencies and representatives participate in many international activities.

Standards for Nanotechnology

Globally accepted nanotechnology standards are vital to continuing progress in research and development and eventual commercialization.

Networks and Communities

The NNI is involved in outreach efforts with K–12 educators and international partners.


Nanotechnology Fact

Depending on the shape, the application, or the components, nanomaterials may be called by a variety of different names, including nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanofilms, nanoshells, nanospheres, nanowires, nanoclays, nanoconcrete, nanopolymers, and much more. Other nanomaterials have distinct qualities that have led researchers to call them by other non-nano prefix names, such as quantum dots or graphene. Generally speaking, nanomaterials are objects with one or more dimension at the nanoscale. Efforts to standardize these words are currently underway, for example, by the International Organization for Standardization. For more information, visit the Standards page.