The term “NANO” is derived from the Greek word meaning “Dwarf”
METRIC SYSTEM COMPARISON:
Nano is really really very small but at this level one can make things smarter than ever before towards satisfying the ever demanding needs of a growing population on the planet in terms of renewable energy, clean water, safe foods and smarter medicine amongst others.
A Nano meter is one billionth of a meter!
Imagine 1 mm on a ruler or piece of string. Then imagine dividing or cutting that up into a million pieces. That gives us one billionth of a meter.
Nano scale is at the level of Atoms and Molecules.
Any piece of material below 100 nm is regarded as a Nano particle.
A DNA strand is 3 nm. The average human cell is 10000 nm.
A strand of hair is about 80000 nm and a flea is approximately 1 million nm wide! Your fingernails grow at about 1 nano meter a second. That’s 0.6 mm a week!
A grain of sand on the beach takes about 34 million years to dissolve. A nano meter-sized grain of sand would dissolve in about 1 second!
NANOTECHNOLOGY is about using the properties that emerge for materials at a scale of one-billionth of a meter as small particles or as nano meter sized devices. “Nanotechnology is the exploitation of the ability to control matter at dimensions between 0.1 and 100 nm, resulting in unique functionalities.”
Nanotechnology has broad applications in performance materials, health, consumer products, water, information technology and energy. It is capable of changing the way almost everything is designed and made and has proven the potential to make things lighter, stronger, more efficient and more effective.
Nanotechnology is not a product but a science. It is not of breaking structures into small particles but rather a science of building materials by manipulating one atom at a time into nano blocks with varying properties.
The functions of Nano particles or materials are largely based on surface area and surface tension. A particle broken down into the Nano scale multiplies its surface area by a factor of millions.
At a Nano scale materials behave differently in terms of light absorption, refraction ratios, reaction to absorption, reaction to magnetic forces, catalytic activity etc depending on the molecular structure. Compare the completely opposite characteristics of Diamond and Coal- both composed of pure Carbon BUT with different molecular structures! The same applies at the Nano level..
Nano materials can be in the form of nano particles, nano rods, nano plates or nano tubes.