Micro Nano Technology - Backgrounder
Micro and nano technologies are a set of manufacturing techniques which create and/or manipulate objects of very small dimensions and/or with a very great precision. It is common to speak of microtechnology for processes that allow working with precisions of the order of micrometer and of nanotechnology as soon as one arrives at dimensions below 100 nanometers. However, the boundary between micro and nanotechnology remains somewhat indistinct.
Microtechnologies include precision engineering, microelectronics technology, particularly machining processes by photolithography, and all MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) technologies arising there from, but also micro-injection of plastics, machining by laser, by micro-sandblasting or by EDM.
MEMS technologies have flourished particularly since their beginning in the 1980's. They consist of expanding the manufacturing processes used in microelectronics to make mechanical elements, membranes, beams, channels, etc. on silicon substrates or sometimes directly onto integrated circuits. They thus allow producing components that do not deal solely with electrons, but are also able to detect movements, chemical substances and other environmental parameters. MEMS have completely revolutionized the field of sensors that are today readily found in large numbers of a multitude of everyday life products such as automobiles, mobile phones, household appliances, toys, electronic entertainment, capital goods, medical and dental devices, environmental monitoring, and many others.
Nanotechnologies have emerged more recently and essentially still belong in the domain of research. Large investments are dedicated to these technologies around the world, both from private and government sources. They include techniques for the nanostructuration of materials, methods of chemical and biochemical synthesis, instruments to observe or manipulate atoms, etc.
A large number of scientific disciplines claim the label "nano" and investors perceive a major technological revolution from "nano".