nano- [NA noh], nan-, nanno-, -nania

(Greek: dwarf, dwarfish; pygmy; "little old man;" very small or tiny; also, a decimal prefix used in the international metric system for measurements)

This prefix is used in the metric [decimal] system as billionth [U.S.] and thousand-millionth [U.K.], 10-9 [0.000 000 001]. The metric symbol for nano- is n.

1. The harnessing of biological processes on an ultra-small scale in the manufacture and alteration of materials and products.
2. A branch of nanotechnology that either uses biological starting materials, biological design principles, or has biological applications.
3. The practical application of biological knowledge and techniques for industrial purposes; for example, fermentation.
4. The use of contemporary biological techniques to produce new substances or to perform new functions; for example, recombinant DNA technology.
calcifying namoparticles
nanandrous, nanander
Producing dwarf males.
The condition of being dwarfed or being a dwarf.
Artificial dwarfing.
Any fossil so small that it is near or below the limit of resolution of a light microscope.
nano block
The term "Alien Technology" uses to describe its tiny microchips, which are about the width of three human hairs.
Nanobacteria are very widespread, occurring in practically all human material tested.

Under an electron microscope, nanobacteria look like typical bacteria, and even resemble cells undergoing division.

Nanobacteria have been heralded as the smallest cellular forms on earth and also as candidates to explain how cellular life began on earth and other extraterrestial bodies; such as, meteorites and Mars.

1. A robot of microscopic proportions, presumably built by means of nanotechnology. As yet, only used informally (and speculatively!). Also called a "nanoagent".
2. Tiny autonomous robot.

Nanomachines are largely in the research-and-development phase, but some primitive devices have been tested.

An example is a sensor having a switch approximately 1.5 nanometers across, capable of counting specific molecules in a chemical sample.

The first useful applications of nanomachines will likely be in medical technology, where they could be used to identify pathogens and toxins from samples of body fluid and destroy them.

Another potential application is the detection of toxic chemicals, and the measurement of their concentrations, in the environment.


Additional topics are available at Nanotechnology: Index of Articles.

Related "few, small, less, little" word units: micro-; mini-; mio-, meio-; oligo-, olig-.

Related "metric" families: yotta; zetta; exa; peta; tera; giga; mega; kilo; hecto; deka; deci; centi; milli; micro; pico; femto; atto; zepto; yocto.