Applying systems engineering principles to the realm of microand nanoscale technology (MNT) development has been recognized as key to solving the challenge of increasing the success of the transition of MNT from the laboratory to operational systems. In 2008 Yves LaCerte of Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, addressed the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) regarding systems engineering for complex systems. In his presentation, he highlighted the key role that systems engineering will play in developing microand nanosystems by stating the following:

K. Eric Drexler responding to Richard E. Smalley in a now famous debate in Chemical and Engineering News1 wrote:

In this Systems Engineering for Microscale and Nanoscale Technologies handbook, we provide guidance for applying system engineering methodologies to the development of microand nanotechnology-based devices and systems.* We meet this objective by providing a solid technical foundation for the systems engineer engaged in the development of MNTs and their integration into macrosystems. In their lead role of managing the technical specialists on their teams, this book provides systems engineers with an understanding of tools and methodologies used by disciplines involved in the development of micro-and nanotechnologies, including quantum mechanics, quantum chemistry, solid-state physics, materials science, and chemistry. This book is also a resource for microand nanoscale technology researchers and development teams who apply systems engineering processes, such as requirements development, key decision points, product verification and validation, interface management, and risk management. Finally, the book serves as a guide to technical and business program managers for developing and implementing robust micro-and nanoscale technology programs to increase the likelihood that new technologies will bridge the gap between the laboratory and applications.