NANOTECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW: A definition of nanotechnology... soft approach to nanotechnology basic
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
- An increase of surface area;
- Quantum effects occurs.
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.
are a famous
and typical example of that.
Following links provide
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.
The dawning of nanotechnology
In the 1959 the famous physicist Richard Feynman,
in his prophetic lecture There's plenty of room at the bottom
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.
- Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and
uncertainties: The Royal Society
- CMP_cientifica; White papers about: Fullerenes, Molecular Electronics,
Nanocrystalline Materials, Nanoporous Materials, Nanotechnology,
NEMS, Dendrimers, Nanocapsules, Nanoparticles, Nanotubes, Quantum Dots.
- Nanotechnology: Opportunities and Challenges
Center for nanotechnology CNT
- CORDIS pubblication EU nanotechnology organization.
- Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution by K. Eric Drexler, Chris Peterson, and Gayle Pergamit.
For many other nanotechnology reports and documents consult following links: