Both nanoscience and nanotechnology represent almost perfect fulfillment of contemporary science for a number of reasons. It has continuously been characterized as a "new Frontier" (Barben et al, 2008), an "emerging field", "emergent, highly interdisciplinary field," a "transdisciplinary research front" and a "rigorous scientific field" with "many signs of protodisciplinarity" (Milburn, 2004). It eradicates the limits between research and development and practical application as well as between science and engineering field, having formed at the intersection of several fields in science and engineering. Since the late 1990s nanotechnology has witnessed extensive investment and attention from corporate and governmental sectors as "a linchpin for creating economic wealth and solving a vast number of societal problems" (Barben et al., 2008, p. 982). Nanotechnology and nanoscience united efforts of governments, venture investors, NGOs, and small enterprises.Bainbridge (2004) explained that there are two very different nanotechnology movements in existence today. One is closely tied to chemistry, physics and materials science, based in research institutions and working to create actual technical breakthroughs. The other is based largely in science fiction literature, but has a profound influence on the perspectives of people who are not scientists or engineers. Nanotechnology, according to N. Katherine Hayles (2004), has become a potent cultural signifier attracting scientific research, along with entrepreneurial interest, government funding and fictional speculation. It represents "not so much a theoretical breakthrough as a concatenation of previously known theories, new instrumentation, discoveries of new phenomena at the nano-level, and synergistic overlaps between disciplines that appear to be converging into a new transdisciplinary research front" (p.11). Nanotechnology is a relatively new field, but over the past decade it has already strongly influenced the reorganization of the disciplinary landscape of science and engineering worldwide (Schummer, 2007). It is an emergent field "taking form at the interstices of several fields of science and engineering" (Wajcman, 2008) (p. 816).
Nanostructures have been studied in a variety of contexts throughout scientific history.
Colloidal solutions, block copolymer microdomains, integrated circuits, scanning tunneling
microscopes, the molecular and microstructure of steel and aluminum alloys, and the crystal
structures of countless proteins and cellular structures provide just glimpses of the numerous
nanostructures that chemists, physicists, materials scientists, and biologists have studied for
decades (Ozin & Arsenault, 2005). Over the past decades, scientific investigations have grown increasingly broad and encompassing, with many research efforts relying on techniques and insights from neighboring fields to address ever more complex challenges and to pursue ever more enticing opportunities (Foster, 2009). Consequently, a new paradigm of truly interdisciplinary research has emerged that promises to accelerate the generation of knowledge not just at the nanoscale, but in the entire scientific endeavor. Whereas nanomaterials were before simply used and studied as a means to an end, now formally distinct communities of researchers have begun to study nanoscale phenomena as part of a dedicated research effort (Foster, 2009).
Because nanoscience crosses such a wide range of disciplines, the challenges addressed, tools employed, and materials created are extensive. It is possible to create general distinctions based on a variety of classifications, though two methods