Nanotechnology is a pasture of applied science and technology covering a wide range of topics. The main unifying premise is the control of matter on a scale smaller than 1 micrometer, normally between 1-100 nanometers, as well as the manufacture of devices on this same length scale. It is a highly multidisciplinary field, drawing from fields such as colloidal science, device physics, and supramolecular chemistry. Much hypothesis exists as to what new science and technology might result from these lines of research. Some view nanotechnology as a marketing term that describes pre-existing lines of research applied to the sub-micron size scale.
In spite of the apparent ease of this definition, nanotechnology actually encompasses diverse lines of inquiry. Nanotechnology cuts across many disciplines, together with colloidal science, chemistry, applied physics, materials science, and even mechanical and electrical engineering. It could variously be seen as an extension of existing sciences into the nanoscale, or as a recasting of existing sciences using a newer, more recent term. Two major approaches are used in nanotechnology: one is a "bottom-up" approach where materials and devices are built from molecular components which gather themselves chemically using principles of molecular gratitude; the other being a "top-down" approach where nano-objects are constructed from larger entities without atomic-level control.