Published On: Tue, May 11th, 2010

Nano and Nanotechnology

Nano is actually a SI prefix denoting 0.000 000 001, and for instance one nano-meter means one billionth of a meter. Obviously nano is referring to the fields dealing with such small scales (roughly 1–100 nm). It should be emphasized that ‘nano’ as a field of study, deals with size; and nano scale of e.g. time, concentration, etc are not normally considered as the nano discipline (the reason is given below).

Nanotechnology describes the creation and utilisation of functional materials, devices and systems with novel functions and properties that are based either on geometrical size or on material-specific peculiarities of nano-structures. Purely geometrically the prefix “nano” (greek: dwarf) describes a scale 1000 times smaller than that of present elements of the micrometer-sphere (1nm corresponds to the millionth part of a mm). This scale has become accessible both by application of new physical instruments and procedures and by further diminution of present microsystems. Also structures of animated and non-animated nature were used as models for self-organising matter. Only if the mastery of this atomic and molecular dimension succeeds, the prerequisites for the optimisation of product properties within socioeconomic areas such as energy engineering, environmental technology as well as in information technology, health and ageing can be developed.

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