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.
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.
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.
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.