Nanotechnology involves manipulating materials at an extremely small scale. One nanometre is equivalent to one billionth of a metre. Nanotechnology can be used for a range of purposes, like making materials stronger or water repellent. Companies can use nanotechnology to improve their existing products or create new ones. Nanotechnology can also be used to solve issues in society, for instance by detecting disease at an early stage. The government is investing in research into new uses of nanotechnology, as well as the potential risks for people and the environment.