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    Traditional materials take on new optical, mechanical and reactive properties, thereby enabling new functionalities as well as the development of completely novel materials, devices and products. The emerging nature of nanotechnology implies that it is important to understand better the origin, significance and socioeconomic impacts of the developments. Science, technology and innovation (STI) policies in this field have to be founded on validated and comparable indicators, statistics and other systematic insights.

    Nanotechnology is a collective term for a set of interlinked sciences and technologies which jointly contribute to the understanding and control of matter and processes at very small length scales (typically in the range of 1-100 nanometres). One nanometre is one billionth of a meter; hence nanotechnology is essentially the engineering of matter even down to the level of individual atoms. At these small scales there is a move from traditional to quantum physics domains that are not well understood at present.
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