Explains the nanotechnological approach or technology generation(s) used to produce the application or product. Metal plating processes use the most tried and true passive nanostructure, while modern semiconductor processes utilize passive, active, and systems of nanosystems, and new biomedical research is just starting to utilize molecular nanosystems.

Passive Nanostructures

This category includes nanostructured coatings, dispersion of nanoparticles, surface nanopatterning, ultra-precision engineering, and bulk materials (nano-structured metals, polymers, and ceramics). These materials have steady or quasi-steady structures and functions; such as mechanical behavior and chemical reactivity. Passive physical properties of the nanotechnology are the heart of this mechanism type. The primary application of passive nanostructures are in components (e.g. particles, wires, nanotubes, etc.) with improved properties and functions due to their nanostructure[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

Types of Passive Nanostructures:

1. Surface Applications: Dispersed and contact surface nanostructures such as nanoscale colloids, aerosols, and powders that may have significant exposure to bio-systems[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

2. Structural Applications: Products incorporating nanostructures such as nanoscale layers in transistors or bulk materials[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

3. Engineered Nanoparticles (not amorphous): Small-sized basic units of properties (fine and ultra-fine nanoparticles) from base materials such as silver, gold, titanium, iron, platinum, or cadmium (quantum dots)[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

4. Engineered Nanotubes: Cylindrically composed nanostructures that is most widely applied in the production of carbon nanotubes[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

Active Nanostructures

This category includes new transistors, amplifiers, actuators, molecular machines, light-driven molecular motors, plasmonics, nanoscale fluidics, laser-emitting devices, and adaptive structures. An 'active' nanostructure changes its state during its operation (e.g. an actuator changes its dimensions). The new state may also be subject to other successive changes in the mechanical, electronic, magnetic, photonics, biological properties and other effects[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

Typical active nanostructures are components in nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), nanobiodevices, energy storage devices, and sensors which change their state during measurement. Common active nanostructures are photo, and chemically, electrically catalytic functions[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

Types of Active Nanostructures:

1. Bio-active Nanostructures: Potentially effecting human health and ecosystems utilizing targeted drugs and biodevices.[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

2. Physicochemical Active Nanostructures: 3D transistors, actuators, adaptive structures. [springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

Systems of Nanosystems

This cluster use various syntheses and assembling techniques (guided assembly) such as bio-assembling, networking at the nanoscale and multi-scale and hierarchical architectures, robotics on surfaces, modular nanosystems, chemo-mechanical processing of molecular assemblies, and quantum-based nanoscale systems[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

Types of Systems of Nanosystems:

1. Nanoscale semi-conductors: Advanced CPUs for use in personal computers, smart-phones, televisions.

2. ...

Molecular Nanosystems

Molecular nanosystems are the next generation of materials and components in which each individual molecule has a specific structure that plays its own role, behaving much like biological systems. Expected advancements in self assembly from micro to macro scales, utilizing and controlling quantum effects at the nano scale, controlling interactions between light and matter, and advantages in extraordinarily fast information processing, these systems will allow fundamentally new functions to emerge[springerlink:10.1007/s11051-006-9092-7].

Expected Molecular Nanosystem Advancements:

1. Continued development of modular transistor components in the semi-conductor industry.

2. Nano-scale genetic therapies, cell-aging therapies (cancer treatment), and nano-controlled stem-call therapies.

3. Human-machine interfaces, and other neuromorphic systems.

4. ...