Micro and Nano Systems are miniaturized sensors able to detect, implement and monitor. Microsystems have become more intelligent systems (Smart Systems) combining technologies and microsystems technolgy components (miniaturized electrical, mechanical, optical and fluid devices) with knowledge, technology and the functionality of other sectors like biology, chemistry, nanosciences or cognitive sciences. The main fields of application of intelligent systems are productive technologies, medical technologies, automotive technology, aeropace engineering, security and protection and intelligent manufacturing.

The micro and nanosystems are evolving towards more and more complex systems; they are able to describe and analyse a particular environmental situation, parameterizing it and making decisions according to the data available both predictively and adaptively.

The EU Commission defines enabling technologies as technologies with a “deep intensity of knowledge and associated with a deep intensity of R & S, at rapid recycling cycles, consistent investment expenditure and high qualified jobs. They innovate services and assets in all economic sectors and therefore have systemic relevance. They are multidisciplinary, affect different sectors and tend to converge and intergrate. They may help leaders in technologies from other sectors to make the most from research”.

On the basis of today’s research, economic analysis of market trends and their contribution to solving issues, micro/nanoelettronics, nanotechnology, photonics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology and advanced production technologies (considered “horizontal” technologies) have been identified as enabling technologies by the EU.

Nanotechnologies and other enabling technologies are vital sources of innovation. They represent the indispensable technological basis of a whole series of productive applications, such as those needed to develop low-carbon technologies, improve energy and resource efficiency, reduce climate change and allow healthy ageing.