Engineering Nanotechnology: The Top Down Approach
Nanotechnology can be defined as “the study, development and processing of materials, devices, and systems in which structure on a dimension of less than 100 nm is essential to obtain the required functional performance.” There are currently two very different approaches to nanotechnology, the first and more classical approach is commonly called engineering nanotechnology. This approach involves using classical deterministic mechanical and electrical engineering principles to build structures with tolerances at levels approaching a nanometer. The other approach, sometimes called molecular nanotechnology, is concerned with self-assembled machines and the like and is far more speculative. At UNC Charlotte’s Center for Precision Metrology we have been working in engineering nanotechnology for more than a decade. We started with molecular manipulation with scanning probe microscopes in the late 1980s  and have continued to develop new measurement systems , nano-machining systems [3,4], and nano-positioning devices. One of the largest challenges is precision motion control of macroscopic stages. Currently we have three stages under development or modification. The first is the Sub Atomic Measuring Machine (SAMM)  which is being modified to provide picometer resolution; the second is the Multi-Scale Alignment and Positioning System (MAPS) initially to be used for nanoimprinting; the third is an Ultra-Precision Vacuum Stage , which is the subject of another paper in this conference. This paper will discuss the first two systems.
Wei Gao, Yasuhiro Takaya, Yongsheng Gao and Michael Krystek
R. J. Hocken et al., "Engineering Nanotechnology: The Top Down Approach", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 381-382, pp. 3-6, 2008