Nanotechnology is the science of dealing with atoms with only a few nanometers in dimensions. As the size of objects is scaled down to the nanometer regime, the material properties undergo a transformation, presenting a great potential for promising applications. Nanotechnology is considered more powerful than even the industrial revolution, with applications ranging from automobiles to medicine. Nanotechnology can be broadly classified into Nanomaterials, Nanoelectronics and the Nano-biotechnology.
The Nanotechnology revolution is expected to pave way for computers billions of times more powerful than today's, and new medical capabilities that will heal and cure in cases that are currently considered as utterly hopeless. According to many of the recent estimates, Nanotechnology market is expected to cross US$ 1 Trillion by 2015.
There is considerable activity in India in the area of Nanotechnology at most of the leading institutions and government labs. Indian nanoscience and technology covers a wide spectrum of topics which include MEMS & NEMS, Nanostructure synthesis and characterizations, Bio-chips or lab-on-a chip concepts, Nanoelectronics (transistors, quantum computing, optoelectronics.etc.) and nanomaterials (CNT, nanoparticles, nanopowder, nanocomposites). Much of this work is funded and coordinated by DST, MCIT, DBT and a few other government agencies. A very significant recent effort has been that of the National Programme on Smart Materials (NPSM) in the area of MEMS and smart materials. This programme has funded several industries, research labs and academic institutions in various aspects of MEMS, including materials, aerospace applications, design, and biological applications. Two centres of excellence in Nanoelectronics have also been recently sanctioned by the Govt. of India at IIT Bombay and IISc Bangalore.
The more recent nanotechnology initiatives by the Govt. of India are expected to further strengthen the NPSM programme by looking at MEMS in the nano dimensions (NEMS), besides, of course, also considering many other facets of nanotechnologies.
IIT Bombay's Centre for Research in Nanotechnology & Science (CRNTS) is expected to play a key role in the country in the development of Nanotechnology R&D.