*Understanding “NANO”

Posted: September 8, 2008 in Timeless

Some Other  Resources:


Nanoscale refers to anything which has the characteristic size of its defining property as nanometer-ish or from 0.1 nm to 100 nm. This range refers to the atomic and molecular domain, which is where the nanoscale action is. Nanoscale properties come from the interactions of a limited number of atoms and basic science of atoms. Another interesting aspect of the nanoscale is visualizing it. :


visualizing, visualizing.nanoscale [Has More Images]


What is a nanometer?
One-billionth of a meter. For comparison purposes, one inch equals 25 million nanometers. A nanometer-sized particle also is smaller than a living cell and can be seen only with the most powerful microscopes available today.


In order to understand the size of material/matter involved at the nanoscale level, one needs to trace down the units of measurement, commencing with an ant (at the milliscale) and ending at the very bottom, at the nanoscale. The nanoscale is far from the smallest unit of measurement—it is however the smallest scale at which matter can be manipulated. Figure 1 illustrates where the nanoscale fits in with relation to other scales.



.. See full-size image.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanotechnology :

Nanotechnology is a field of applied science and technology covering a broad range of topics. The main unifying theme is the control of matter on a scale smaller than 1 micrometer, normally between 1-100 nanometers, as well as the fabrication of devices on this same length scale.

See also:

http://www.nanotech-now.com/introduction.htm :

At the most basic technical level, MNT is building, with intent and design, and molecule by molecule, these two things: 1) incredibly advanced and extremely capable nano-scale and micro-scale machines and computers, and 2) ordinary size objects, using other incredibly small machines called assemblers or fabricators (found inside nanofactories). In a nutshell, by taking advantage of quantum-level properties, MNT allows for unprecedented control of the material world, at the nanoscale, providing the means by which systems and materials can be built with exacting specifications and characteristics. Or, as Dr. K. Eric Drexler puts it “large-scale mechanosynthesis based on positional control of chemically reactive molecules.”


a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Everyone struggles to imagine this very small scale, but you can get an idea through comparison.

Let’s look at some commonplace objects. Pick up a book and look at the thickness of an individual page. The average page is about 100,000 nanometers thick. Remember, to be considered nanoscale the object must have one dimension between 1 and 999 nanometers, so this is definitely not within the nanoscale range. A very fine human hair is about 10,000 nanometers wide, which is the smallest dimension we can see with the naked eye.


Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale.

At the nanoscale, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials differ in fundamental and valuable ways from the properties of individual atoms and molecules or bulk matter. Nanotechnology R&D is directed toward understanding and creating improved materials, devices, and systems that exploit these new properties.

This short 5 minute video animation is all that is needed to be able to visualize the nano-scale. At least watch the one minute mark as it’s zooming in to the nano-scale. It’s almost impossible to imagine without seeing this:


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