Nanotechnology Terms to Know
The field of nanotechnology has produced lots of terms. Some describe nanotechnology applications, others are the names of various types of nano-sized materials, and still others describe processes that involve the use of nanotechnology or nanomaterials. Here’s a list of nanotechnology definitions that will help you become nano-savvy.
Nanocatalyst: Nanoparticles of a substance, such as platinum, that reduce the temperature at which various chemical reactions occur.
Nanocomposite: A matrix to which nanoparticles have been added to improve a particular property of the material, such as strength.
Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS): Devices that integrate nanoscale mechanical and electrical components into a single component. NEMS are generally built on semiconductor wafers using integrated circuit manufacturing techniques.
Nanoelectronics: Electronic devices containing components such as sensors or transistors that have features less than 100 nanometers in size.
Nanoengineering: The study and practice of engineering at the nanoscale.
Nanolithography: The practice of printing nanoscale patterns on a surface.
Nanomaterials: Materials with one or more dimensions measuring less than 100 nanometers.
Nanomedicine: The use of nanotechnology for diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease.
Nanometer: A measurement equal to 10-9 meter, or 1 billionth of a meter. Approximately 800 100-nanometer particles placed side by side would match the width of a human hair.
Nanoparticle: Particles ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers in diameter.
Nanopores: Holes in a membrane or solid less than 100 nanometers in size.
Nanorobot: Robots approximately the size of the cells in our bodies that have a propulsion system, sensors, manipulators, and possibly an on-board computer that can perform tasks on nanoscale objects.
Nanorod: A nanoscale object in which all dimensions are between 1 and 100 nanometers in size with the length typically three to five times the diameter. Nanorods are typically synthesized from metal or semiconducting materials.
Nanosensor: Sensors that use nanoscale materials to detect biological or chemical molecules.
Nanoshells: Nanoparticles consisting of a gold coating over a silica core. Nanoshells can convert infrared light into heat to destroy cancer cells.
Nanotechnology: The study and use of structures between 1 nanometer and 100 nanometers in size.
Nanotube: Molecules composed of carbon atoms arranged on the surface of a cylindrical shape in a pattern of hexagons as seen in buckyballs.
Nanowire: A wire of any length with a diameter of less than 100 nm.