Science Made Simple: What is Nanoscience?

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Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are using ion beams on this penny to show how cool nanoscience research is.Credit: Video courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nanoscience is the study of materials on a nanoscale. It is about 1 to 100 nanometers, or one thousandth the width of human hair. On these incredibly small scales, materials have unique phenomena that enable new applications. In 1959, renowned physicist Richard Feynman said in a prophetic lecture that “there is plenty of space at the bottom.”Feynman meant mostly exploring and manipulating materials atom Atoms will create enormous opportunities for new science and important new technologies. Today, that “bottom room” is called nanoscience. It is an important part of physics, chemistry, materials science, and biology research.

You can literally see the impact of this study on television. Some video screens today use nanotechnology developed in the United States called quantum dots. This technology creates very high resolution, accurate and vibrant color televisions.

Nanoscience facts

  • The word nano comes from the Greek word “nanos” and means dwarf. This is a prefix used to describe something one billionth. Nanometers are one billionth of a meter.
  • Department of Energy Science National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), US government R & D efforts envisioning a future in which nanotechnology will lead to a technological and industrial revolution.

DOE Science Bureau: Contribution to Nanoscience

Nanoscience is the basis for progress in almost every area of ​​technology. To meet this need, the Department of Basic Energy Science (BES) of the Department of DOE Science has established five nanoscale scientific research centers. These centers carry out interdisciplinary collaborative research on a nanoscale. They provide access to state-of-the-art synthesis, characterization, computational tools, and scientific expertise. The center works with leading scientists to create materials and structures with atomic scale accuracy to characterize, understand and predict their properties.

The center is located near existing X-ray and neutron probes and advanced computing facilities so that researchers can work together with these tools. BES also supports a wide range of pioneering research in nanoscale science and engineering. This study supports the Department of Energy’s mission to promote US energy, economics, and national security. On the basis of this discovery research, scientists supported by both government and industry are pursuing applied nanotechnology research.

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