Researchers have discovered a class of nanoscale devices that can self-assemble when exposed to light. These sub-microscopic structures may provide new methods for manufacturing electronic components such as photonic devices and memory storage systems for computers. Another potential application for the technology is in splitting water molecules to generate hydrogen for use as fuel.
The science of the very small has big military, economic and security implications for the future. From molecular manufacturing to incredibly smart chemical weapons, the raw materials and ultimate paraphernalia that nanotechnology will enable boggle the imagination of even science fiction aficionados. However, experts who scrutinize the science and significance of nanoscale devices differ on how this kind technology will affect future generations as well as on what should be done today to keep the United States out front in this field.