Nanotechnology in Agriculture


“What would happen if we could arrange the atoms one by one the way we want them?” asked Richard Feynman, a well-known American physicist, in his speech during the meeting of the American Physical Society in 29 December 1959.1 This idea eventually became a research field known as nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology refers to controlling, building, and restructuring materials and devices on the scale of atoms and molecules.2 A nanometer (nm) is one-billionth of a meter. To get the sense of the nano scales, the width of the human hair is 80,000 nm and the smallest things visible with the naked human eye are 10,000 nm across. At nano scales, the basic rules of chemistry and physics are not applicable.3 One example of this technology is the carbon nanotube discovered in 1991, which is only a few nanometers in diameter but can conduct electricity better than copper; 100 times stronger than steel but only one sixth of its weight.

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