Frequently Asked Questions about Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is a new field of science which deals with controlling the matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers (nm). What nanotechnology which is also named by scientists nanoscience does is to control and conduct the individual particles – atoms and molecules, instead of controlling the material itself. At this scale the things we think we know and take for granted act in a completely different way.
Nanoscale is the dimensional range of approximately 1 up to 100 nanometers (nm).
A nanometer is one billionth, or 10−9 of the meter. The mere prefix of the term “nano” has the meaning of “one billionth”. According to the international system for units of weights and measure one nanometer is 10-9 of the meter. It is generally abbreviated “nm”.
Nanotubes have a diameter in the nanoscale, but can be several hundred nanometers long—or even longer.
Nanoplates have a thickness at the nanoscale, but their other two dimensions can be quite large.
Nanomaterials have been used for over a millennium. Craftsmen have been creating weapons, decorations, jewelry and stained glass with nanoscale structures even in the Medieval Ages without realizing how the unique properties of the materials work. However, nanotechnology as a science emerged approximately 30 years ago when scientists focused on materials at the nanoscale. Since the beginning of the 21 century more and more material scientists, engineers, biologists, chemists, physicists and have been focusing on nanotechnology, thus leading to a great developments in the field. It was 2000 when the US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was founded in order to support all the researchers and to accelerate further nanotechnological progress.
Today nanotechnology is applied in different fields – medicine, engineering, biology, chemistry, cosmetics, even in fashion. The materials at the nanoscale have completely different properties then the well-known ones. This makes them applicable to every aspect of science.
We already use nanotechnology in our everyday life without knowing it. Many cosmetic products contain tiny nanoparticles improving their overall quality. Nanotechnology can be found in our clothes, cars and even kitchen appliances!