Social Implications of Nanotechnology: A Review

Author(s): R. P. Singh

Nanotechnology has captured the imaginations of Scientists, Engineers and Economists not only because of the explosion of discoveries at nanoscale, but also because of the potential societal implications. Nanotechnology promises to be a dominant force in our society in coming decades in roads. Today, nanotechnology is still in its infancy and only rudimentary nanostructures can be created with some control. The science of atoms and simple molecules, a one end, and the science of matter from microstructures to larger scale, on the other, is generally established. The remaining size related challenge is at the nanoscale roughly between 1and 100 molecules diameters where the fundamental properties of materials are determined and can be engineered. A revolution has been occurring in science and technology, based on the recently developed ability to measure, manipulate and organize matter on this scale. Recently discovered organized structures of matter (such as Carbon Nanotubes, molecular motors, DNA-based assemblies, quantum dots and molecular switches) and new phenomenous are scientific breakthrough that merely hints at possible future developments. However formidable challenges remain in fundamental understanding of the systems on this scale before the potential of nanotechnology can be realized.


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