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Computer Microtechnology, Lasers, Scientific And Medical Microtechnology, Space Microtechnology

Microtechnology is the use of compact, or very small, technical devices. Microtechnology embraces microcomputer parts, space microdevices, microsurgery, and microelectronics. Both microfilm and microfiche, which store information on film, are also examples of microtechnology; microfiche generally stores more than microfilm. The term "micro," derived from the Greek word mikros, meaning small, is used to describe something that is unusually small. Technology is the application of inventions and discoveries to meet needs or obtain goals. Microtechnology has the advantages of taking up less space, using less construction material, and costing less money. Initial manufacturing of such small components requires invention or reapplication of existing technology, a trained manufacturer, and precise manufacturing conditions. The resulting smaller equipment is less expensive to transport and store; this aspect of microtechnology makes it ideally suited for use in outer space.

Microtechnology has emerged in various technological fields since about 1920. Advances in scientific knowledge and applications of that knowledge make microtechnology possible. Specific concepts and inventions have provided the necessary basis for microtechnology. These significant inventions include: the microscope, electricity, computers, and lasers. For example, microscopes allow technicians to view minute regions of computer microprocessors and components of other microdevices. Microscopes also enable surgeons to view aspects of a patient's body at a resolution not possible for the naked human eye.

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