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Many consider 1959 to be “year one” of the modern nanoscience industry. Professor Richard Feynman of the California Institute of Technology gave a now-famous speech in which he sought to inspire the scientific community to embrace the study of nanoengineering (a term that wasn’t actually coined until 1974).

In the 1980s, the fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering grew rapidly as scientists invented new technology to view and manipulate nanoparticles, as well as discovered nanomaterials such as Buckminsterfullerene and colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals that could be used to create new nanoproducts.

From 2006 to 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy founded five nanoscale science research centers to investigate and develop the unique characteristics of materials and phenomena at the nanoscale level.

Today, the number of applications for nanomaterials continues to grow. The global nanotechnology industry is expected to exceed $125 billion by 2025, according to Data Bridge, a market research firm.