Introduction into the nanotechnology

The nanotechnology and its various disciplines are world wide increasingly classified as the technology of the future. As key and cross section technology is it of high relevance for the business location Germany. The future competitiveness of their products will considerably be subject to the development of the nanocosmos for a wide range of important German fields of industry as automotive engineering, chemistry, pharmaceutical industry, information technology or optics. The Nanotechnology is opening new market chances by the realisation of smaller, faster, more efficient and more intelligent system components for new products with clearly improved and partly brand-new functionalities.

The industrial conquest of nano-scaled dimensions has world-wide started with the discovery of the access possibilities on the individual matter elements, as well as the hereby increased understanding concerning the self-organisation of th ese elements.

In terms of geometric the prefix “nano” (greek: dwarf) names a range, which is a thousand times smaller than the range of current elements of the micrometer range (1nm corresponds to a millionth part of mm). This range will be achieved by the use of new physical instruments and procedures via a further miniaturization of current micro-systems, as well as by the use of constructions plans of the alive and lifeless nature for the self-organised constitution of matter. Once it succeeds to control safely this atomic and molecular dimension, the requirements will arise for long-term r esilient optimation of product features in the range of power engineering (fuel cells, batteries, solar cells, gasholders, etc.), environment engineering (material circuit, waste disposal, cleaning, etc.) as well as information technology (high secured memories, efficient processors, etc.) but also of health and aging. Besides the innovation options it is also a matter of generating jobs in Germany and to secure existing jobs in the global competition. It concerns primar ily the use of new functions at the nano-technology, which on the one hand are based on the geometrical size and on the other hand are based on the material specific peculiarities of nano-structures.

Therefore, features of nano-systems are discussed in view of the technological opportunities and not in view of e.g. special targets of information technology and biological science.

At the conquest of this nanometer-dimension the meanwhile reached innovation speed has lead to the effect that during the investigation of the physical basics first product groups are entering on the world market which are owing their sales success to the realisation of nano-scaled architecture with new macroscopic functions.

In order to create nano-systems two ways of research and development have been chosen and have been pursued within the respective discipline:

On the one hand we try to understand the running processes in the animated nature and to use the accomplished knowledge for technical interrogation. The herewith growing understanding of self-organized structures and function units has been applied especially in the domain of life sciences research and development of new materials.
On the other hand the way to the nanometer-dimensions has been chosen in the li f eless nature by constantly producing small structures and basics of new materials. The herein gained cognitions supplied contributions to electronics, optoelectronics and sensors.

The industrial chance arises in the combination of a technology which is for one thing more artific i al powered and for another thing more evolutionary powered in order to secure a high efficiency as well as a n adequate reproducibility.

Experts see the most important potential for innovations coming from the nanoworld in the combination of these both development paths.

Therefore a new innovation-orientated approach is now necessary, which corresponds to the interdisciplinary nature of this technology field. As technologies for the clarification and aimed interference of construction plans in the alive and li f eless matter has been meanwhile in principle recognized as feasible, the estimation of internationally accepted experts even goes as far, that today prospective innovating products are already assigned by a similar significant development as experienced by the information technology after the invention of the transistor and the manufacturing of integrated circuits.

An epochal importance is partly awarded to the nanotechnolgy, as an interdisciplinary and sector-spanning procedure can not only supply market-defining contributions for the continuously development of micro-electronics but also for further high-tech-domains. The achievable criteria of an ideal atomic and molecular control of macroscopic product features are fascinating the manufacturer as well as the customer. Their domination in the world-wide competition, which is fully in progress, is vital to the success. An important influ e nce on the goods market and on the labour market of t he 21st century is expected.