Nano-particles play not only a key role in recent research fields, but also in the public discussions about health and safety in nanotechnology. Nevertheless, the worldwide activities in nano-particles research increased dramatically during the last 5 to 10 years. There are different potential routes for the future production of nano-particles at large scale. The main directions envisaged are mechanical milling, wet chemical reactions or gas phase processes. Each of the processes has its specific advantages and limitations. Mechanical milling and wet chemical reactions are typically time intensive and batch processes, whereas gas phase productions by flames or plasma can be carried out continuously. Materials of interest are mainly oxide ceramics, carbides, nitrides, and pure metals. Nano-ceramics are interesting candidates for coating technologies due to expected higher coating toughness, better thermal shock and wear resistance. Especially embedded nano-carbides and-nitrides offer homogenously distributed hard phases, which enhance coatings hardness. Thermal spraying, a nearly 100 years old and world wide established coating technology, gets new possibilities thanks to optimized, nano-sized and/or nano-structured powders. Latest coating system developments like high velocity flame spraying (HVOF), cold gas deposition or liquid suspension spraying in combination with new powder qualities may open new applications and markets. This article gives an overview on the latest activities in nano-particle research and production in special relation to thermal spray coating technology.