The step from high-resolution optical imaging to electron microscopy with nanometer resolution is almost unbelievable. Even more beyond intuitive grasp are the methods (and, well, cost) required to create engineered particles and devices at the molecular level.
Below are examples of relatively recent technologies based on variants of electron and atomic force microscopy that enable visualization of individual molecules and even atoms:
While visualization will be approaching practical and functional limits, the possibilities for cost-effective manipulation and thus for nano-engineering are still in their infancy, especially with regard to their biological and biomedical applications.
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