Nanotechnology is concerned with the creation and manipulation of functional structures having dimensions ranging from a few to hundreds of nanometers. This size range encompasses a scientific and technological gap. The most effective strategy for the development of viable new technology is, therefore, to close this gap at both ends through the use of the “top-down” or “bottom-up” approaches. A top-down approach refers to the production of nanoscale structures by breaking, cutting, or etching techniques, whereas a bottom-up approach refers to the assembly of structures atom-by-atom or molecule-bymolecule. A general and simple bottom-up approach used in bionanotechnology relies upon the cooperative interaction of individual macromolecules which spontaneously assemble in a predefined manner to form a larger two- or three-dimensional structure.Self-assembly can be viewed as either template or nontemplate in nature. Template assembly involves the interaction of biomacromolecules under the influence of a specific sequence, pattern, structure, external force, or spatial constraint.In contrast, nontemplate assembly involves the formation of a larger structure by individual components without external influence.

Date of this Version

December 2005