In a new three part series, science writer Philip Ball looks at the hopes and the reality of manipulating matter at scales hundreds of thousand times finer than a human hair.
This week, how it could improve our lives.
Nanotechnology - engineering at the atomic scale - is on its way.
So say the experts.
But will it bring new dangers to the environment? Science writer Philip Ball talks to those warning of threats from nanotechnology, and to the scientists trying to assess what really could go wrong.
Nanotechnologists seeking to engineer at the molecular scale know that nature got there first.
Life is a collection of molecular machines.
Science writer Philip Ball meets the scientists learning from nature, copying from nature and even co-opting nature for the technology of the future.