1Introduction to Nanotechnology

In his 2017 budget request to the US Congress, President Obama included $1.4 billion for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), an overarching program coordinating some 20 federal agencies and departments in all activities of nanotechnology R&D, policies, and regulation [1]. For the same time period, President Obama’s budget for the entire National Science Foundation (NSF) was $7.964 billion, a 6.7% increase from the previous year’s, which would cover the vast majority of research programs in all areas of science in the United States, including a $400 million contribution to the NNI’s budget [2], a share of about 18% of the NSF’s budget. All combined, the United States alone has invested nearly $24 billion since the inception of NNI in 2001 with its annual budget tripled during the same period of time. Today, similar national nanotechnology programs exist in more than 60 countries worldwide. At the other end, the global market for nanotechnology products was reported to be about $26 billion in 2014 alone, an impressive growth from the previous year’s $23 billion, and was predicted to reach $62 billion by 2019 based on a compound annual growth rate of 19.8% [3]. With such a vast investment worldwide and a double‐digit annual growth rate in its global gross revenue, nanotechnology has been coined as the technology of the twenty‐first century. Yet, the century is still young and so is the nanotechnology industry.

So, how was it all started? ...

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