Nanotechnology For Dummies
The world of nanotechnology is ever changing and evolving; this fun and friendly guide demystifies the topic for anyone interested in how molecule-sized machines and processes affect our everyday lives. The authors begin with explaining the background of nanotechnology and then examine industries that are affected by this technology. Aiming to educate and simultaneously dispel common myths, the book explores the many nanotechnology-enabled consumer products available on the market today, ranging from socks to face lotion to jet skis to floor cleaners, to name a few.
Serves as a fun and friendly introduction to the fascinating topic of nanotechnology Discusses the various issues involving nanotechnology in the areas of environment, medicine, defense, and others Provides real-world examples of everyday nanotechnology use such as floor cleaners, flash memory drives, face lotion, computer processors, and more
Written in the accessible, humorous For Dummies style, Nanotechnology For Dummies, 2nd Edition provides an easy-to-understand overview of nanotechnology and its real-world implementation.
Nanotechnology For Dummies
Introduction to Nanotechnology Concepts
In This Chapter
Exploring the definition of nanotechnology
Understanding how nano-sized materials vary from bulk materials
Examining the bottom-up and top-down approaches to nano
Following nano's role across disciplines and industries
N anotechnology has been around as a recognized branch of science for only about fifty years, so it's a baby compared to physics or biology, whose roots go back more than a thousand years. Because of the young age of nanotechnology and our still-evolving understanding of it, defining it is an ongoing process, as you find in this chapter.
In addition, we help you understand nano by comparing it to more familiar concepts, such as atomic structure, and look at how materials change at the nano level.
Finally, the promise nanotechnology holds for the human race ranges from extending our lives by centuries to providing cheap energy and cleaning our air and water. In this chapter, you explore the broad reach that nanotechno-logy has across several scientific disciplines and many industries.
What Is Nanotechnology, Anyway?
To help you understand exactly what nanotechnology is, we start by providing a definition - or two. Then we explore how nano-sized particles compare with atoms.
Pinning down a definition
Nanotechnology is still evolving, and there doesn't seem to be one definition that everybody agrees on. We know that nano deals with matter on a very small scale: larger than atoms but smaller than a breadcrumb. We know that matter at the nano scale can behave differently than bulk matter. Beyond that, individuals and groups focus on different aspects of nanotechnology as a discipline. Here are a few definitions of nanotechnology for your consideration.
The following definition is probably the most barebones and generally agreed upon:
Nanotechnology is the study and use of structures between 1 nanometer (nm) and 100 nanometers in size.
To put these measurements in perspective, you would have to stack 1 billion nanometer-sized particles on top of each other to reach the height of a 1-meter-high (about 3-feet 3-inches-high) hall table. Another popular comparison is that you can fit about 80,000 nanometers in the width of a single human hair.
The word nano is a scientific prefix that stands for 10 -9 or 1 billionth; the word itself comes from the Greek word nanos, meaning dwarf.
The next definition is from the Foresight Institute and adds a mention of the various fields of science that come into play with nanotechnology:
Structures, devices, and systems having novel properties and functions due to the arrangement of their atoms on the 1 to 100 nanometer scale. Many fields of endeavor contribute to nanotechnology, including molecular physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
The European Commission offers the following definition, which both repeats the fact mentioned in the previous definition that materials at the nanoscale have novel properties, and positions nano vis-à-vis its potential in the economic marketplace:
Nanotechnology is the study of phenomena and fine-tuning of materials at atomic, molecular and macromolecular scales, where properties differ significantly from those at a larger scale. Products based on nanotechnology are already in use and analysts expect markets to grow by hundreds of billions of euros during this decade./spa