It’s hard to imagine just how small nanotechnology is. One manometer is a billionth of a meter, or 10-9 of a meter. Here are a few illustrative examples: – There are 25,400,000 nanometers in an inch – A sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick – On a comparative scale, if a marble were a nanometer, then one meter would be the size of the Earth Nanoscience and nanotechnology involve the ability to see and to control individual atoms and molecules. Everything on earth is made up of atoms? the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the buildings and houses we live in, and our own bodies. But something as small as an atom is impossible to see with the naked eye. In fact, it’s impossible to see with the microscopes typically used in a high school science classes. The microscopes needed to see things at the nanoscale were invented relatively recently, about 30 years ago. Once scientists had the right tools, such as the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and the atomic force microscope (AFM), the age of nanotechnology was born.
Nanotechnology term was used regarding subsequent work with related graphene tubes (called carbon nanotubes and sometimes called Bucky tubes) which suggested potential applications for nanoscale electronics and devices. Today’s scientists and engineers are finding a wide variety of ways to deliberately make materials at the nanoscale to take advantage of their enhanced properties such as higher strength, lighter weight, increased control of light spectrum, and greater chemical re-activity than their larger-scale counterparts.
Buckminsterfullerene C60, also known as the buckyball, is a representative member of the carbon structures known as fullerenes. Fullerens were discovered in 1985 by Harry Kroto,Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl, who together won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.