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Nanotechnology & Nanography
Nano. Bigger Than You Think.
Carbon nanotubes are one-dimensional cylindrical structures made of graphene (one-atom thick layer of bonded carbon atoms) that are as small as one nanometer in diameter and up to several centimeters in length. Carbon nanotubes have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any known material. They conduct electricity much better than copper and they exhibit extraordinary thermal conductivity, almost as efficient as diamonds.
Buckyballs are molecules made up of 60 carbon atoms in a series of interlocking hexagons and pentagons and look like a very little soccer ball (or “football” in Europe). When compressed by 30%, they are more than twice as hard as diamonds. Their formal name is Buckminsterfullerene, in honor of Buckminster Fuller, the American architect who was most famous for his geodesic dome structures.
Quantum Dots (or Q-dots) are semiconductors that are typically smaller than 10 nanometers in diameter. They can be “tuned” during production to emit any color of light by changing their core size. Smaller dots are blue and larger dots are red. Dots can even be tuned beyond visible light to emit infra-red or into the ultra-violet. They are called "quantum dots" since classical physics does not work at this nanometric size and one should use quantum physics to calculate their properties.
Nanowires are thin one-dimensional molecular structures typically smaller than 10 nanometers in diameter and much longer in length. They resemble wires rather than sheets and may have great potential for use in very small electrical circuits or in creating composite materials. Carbon nanotubes are one application of nanowires.
how small issmall?
Nanometers are very small. One nanometer is one billionth of a meter. A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick. If you compare the size of one nanometer to the diameter of a tennis ball, it would be like comparing the diameter of a soccer ball to the diameter of the Earth.
nano power on the surface
The secret of nanotechnology is the small size of the particles and the relationship between the surface area and the size of the object. Nano-sized objects offer more surface area than microscopic objects with similar volumes.
A 1 cm3 cube has a surface area of 6 cm2. This same cube, if divided into eight smaller cubes (2 x 2 x 2), would have twice as much surface area as the original cube, or 12 cm2. Divide it again (4 x 4 x 4) and you’d have four times the surface area as the original cube or 24 cm2. More surface area means you have more potential to interact with the surrounding environment. In the case of smaller nanopigments, their total greater surface area lets them absorb more light and provide deeper, richer colors.