Nanotechnology Timeline

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1981:The scanning tunneling microscope was invented by Heinrich Rohrer and Gerd Binnig at IBM. This microscope allowed scientists to see individual atoms. Later in 1986, these two individuals won the Nobel Prize for this.

1981:In Russia, Alexei Ekimov discovered nanocrystalline (semiconducting quantum dots) and experimented on their optical and electronic properties.

1985:Robert Curl, Sean O’Brien, Harold Kroto, and Richard Smalley from Rice University discovered Buckminsterfullerene, which is a molecule composed of only carbon. They won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for this discovery.

1985:Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals were discovered by Louis Brus.

1986:Calvin Quate, Gerd Binnig, and Christopher Gerber created the atomic force microscope, which can measure, view, and manipulate matter down to a fraction of a nanometer.

1989:Erhard Schweizer and Don Eigler manipulated 35 xenon atoms to spell IBM.

1990s:First nanotechnology companies began to emerge.

1991:The carbon nanotube was discovered by Sumio Ijima of NEC.

1992:Nanostructured catalytic materials were discovered by CT Kresge which is used in refining crude oil and various other applications.

1993:The method for controlled synthesis of nanocrystals was created by Moungi Bawendi of MIT.

1998:Formation of the Interagency Working Group on Nanotechnology (IWGN).

1999:The dip-pen nanolithography was invented by Chad Mirkin.

1999-2000s:Consumer products began integrating nanotechnology into everyday items.

2000:The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was launched by President Clinton to promote US competitiveness in nanotechnology.

2003:21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act was enacted by congress.

2003:Jennifer West, Naomi Halas, Renata Pasqualin, and Rebekah Drezek from Rice University created gold nanoshells.

2004:Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Uncertainties was published by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Britain’s Royal Society.

2004:The first college-level education program in nanotechnology, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, was launched by SUNY Albany.

2005:Paul Rothemund and Erik Winfree developed the theory of algorithmic self-assembly and DNA-based computation.

2006:A nanoscale car was built by James Tour and Rice University colleagues.

2007:A lithium-ion battery with a common type of virus not harmful to humans was build by Angela Belcher and MIT colleagues.

2008:NNI Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research was published.

2009-2010:Nadrian Seeman and New York University colleagues developed multiple DNA-like robotic nanoscale assembly devices.

2012:NNI launched two more Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives.

2014:2014 Strategic Plan released by NNI.