ISPE Glossary of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Terminology

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Also called “molecular manufacturing” because involves manipulating matter on atom by atom or molecule by molecule basis to attain desired configurations. An example of “natural” nanotechnology is the development of a fertilized, single cell ovum into a mature human being.


The ability to work at the atomic, molecular, and supramolecular levels, in a scale of about 1 to 100 nanometers, in order to create, manipulate and use materials, devices, and systems that have novel properties and functions because of the small scale of their structures. All materials and systems establish their foundation at nanoscale. A water molecule is about 1 nm in diameter, and the smallest transistors measure about 20nm. DNA molecules are about 2.5 nm wide, a typical protein between 1 and 20 nm in diameter.

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