The idea of building machines in microscopic sizes and making them function like construction bots for producing organizing and rearranging objects at the molecular level is not easy to believe when there is no such technology present. This concept was put forward by Richard Feynman in 1959 in his talk ‘There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom’. This was the first talk to deal with the principles of nanotechnology but this was not a new idea.
Before Feynman had talked about this concept of nanotechnology, it was already proposed by James Clerk Maxwell in 1867. He had proposed an experiment of little entity called Maxwell’s Demon capable of handling individual molecules.
Richard Adolf Zsigmondy was the first to use a nanometer for characterizing particle size in 1914. He determined it as 1/10,00,000 millimeters from which he developed the first system classification based on particle size in the nanometer range.
Moore’s Law had best codified the concept of the influences. Gordon Moore predicted on Intel in 1965 about how modern circuitry would pack more features as more devices were produced for the market. This law has held strong for nearly 50 years.
Nanotechnology was first defined by Norio Taniguchi of Tokyo Science University in 1974. It was the processing of, separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one atom or one molecule.
The concept of nanotechnology to engineering through the concept of molecular manufacturing was for the first time applied by Eric Drexler. He suggested that if atoms were viewed like marbles then molecules would be tight collections of these marbles. These molecules became normal scaled tools like motors when snapped together. Despite the size of nanoscale, these tools operated in the same way as their large counterparts did. The moving parts of the nanomachines were formed by atoms held together by the strength of their own bonds. Drexler had finally envisioned that these nanobots would be used as assemblers for the purpose of putting together atoms into any shape.
By applying this simple vision of molecule manufacturing to industries, Drexler claimed that coal can change into diamonds and computer chips can be made from sand. By reorganizing the atoms that make these materials, the process will be considerably shortened and their valuable products would be produced at a faster speed. This was the reason nanotechnology was presented by Drexler as a scientific field that exclusively revolved around molecule manufacturing.