Atoms world
Atoms on a small scale behave like nothing on a large scale, for they satisfy the laws of quantum mechanics. So, as we go down and fiddle around with the atoms down there, we are working with different laws, and we can expect to do different things.
Richard P. Feynman
Nanotechnology

NANOTECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW: A definition of nanotechnology... soft approach to nanotechnology basic principle.

Strictly speaking, the term nano stands for 1 billionth of meter in a physical length scale.
This nanosize length scale falls between bulk materials (microscale to macroscale) and typical molecular dimension (under nanometer to a few nanometers).

The attraction of many researcher for this length scale depend on the different and often enhanced properties of matter compared with the same materials at a larger size.
Very briefly, we can distinguish two main reasons for that:
The increase in surface to volume ratio in nanometer sized systems can be efficiently explained considering that the greater of atoms lie at the surface of a nanostructure differently to macroscopic solid matter.

The increase in surface area play an important role in the applications where the surface to volume ratio assumes a critical role such as in chemical catalysis. For this reason nanostructured material can be potentially used as catalysts to improve the efficiency of fuel cells and batteries.

As size of matter is reduced until few nanometers, quantum effects significantly change material's optical, magnetic or electrical properties.

Change of properties is associated with nanosize considering that bulk materials generally show continuous absorption and electronic spectra as a consequence material optical properties change as below specified.

Actually size-dependent properties aren't an innovative research matter considering that gold and silver nanoparticles have been used as coloured pigments in glass and ceramics since the 4th century AD.

Lycurgus cup are a famous and typical example of that.

Following links provide internet source where find lecture notes to understand why at the nano-length scale material properties change. This is the task of the so called nanotechnology physics.

Obviuosly many other are available on the web. You can find easily (keywords nanotechnology (physics) lecture note).

Considering previous brief introduction we can try to define Nanoscience as the study directed to understand these effects and their influence on the properties of material.

Nanotechnology (or better nanotechnologies) is the design and production of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at nanometre scale.


We hotly suggest to consult a pubblication of Europaische Akademie GmbH named Small Dimensions and Material Properties A Definition of Nanotechnology;
This pubblication excellently treated both the correct definition of nanotechnology and classification of size-dependent properties for type of material and potential applications.

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The dawning of nanotechnology

In the 1959 the famous physicist Richard Feynman, in his prophetic lecture There's plenty of room at the bottom first sketched the framework of nanotechnology.
Feynman first explored the possibility of manipulating material at the scale of individual atoms and molecules (definition of nanotechnology).
Famous is your example of the possibility to store whole Encyclopaedia Britannica written on the head of a pin.

Norio Taniguchi in 1974, a researcher at the University of Tokyo, first used term nanotechnology concerning to the ability to manipulate materials at the nanometre level.
At the same time many efforts came from electronics industry with the obvious goal of the miniaturization of electronic devices.

Beside that, only with an appropriate tools to characterize and investigate matter at nanoscale level (scanning tunnelling microscope STM, transmission electronic microscope TEM etc.) has been possible not only image a surface with atomic resolution but also manipulate matter to atomic or molecular level.

Currently, nanotechnology can be considered as an interdisciplinary matter that involves researchers of different areas.
It is worthwhile to note that at this length of scale "the rules of the game" change. As the consequence difficulties is not related only to handle materials at the nanometre level but first of all to understand nanotechnology physics and chemistry.


List of nanotechnology reports with definition, opportunities and future scenarios. For many other nanotechnology reports and documents consult following links:
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