Skip to main content
Dr Kobi Leins - Academic Publications - Image by Markus Spiske
Dr Kobi Leins - Academic Publications

Nanotechnology Regulation in Armed Conflict

Authors: Kobi Leins
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

Before any means or method of warfare is deployed in armed conflict, the legality of its use should be confirmed by legal review, at the stage of “study, development, acquisition or adoption.” This review should ensure that new means and methods of warfare comply with international law. International law is comprised of treaties, international custom, and general principles of law.

This legal review ensures that all new or modified means or methods of warfare comply with general legal principles, for example, the requirement that they are not “of a nature to cause superfluous injury.” Examples of treaty-based obligations include prohibitions on poisons, or biological or chemical weapons, just to name a few.

“Nano” is a prefix meaning “a billionth” (a factor of 10−9 of a meter) derived from the Greek νᾶνος, meaning, “dwarf”. By way of illustration, a nano-sized object is to an apple, what an apple is to the size of the earth. Or to give another example, one nanometer particle could fit approximately 80 000 time across a human hair.