Glossary of terms used on NANO MagazineThere are 130 entries in this glossary.
atomic force microscopy/microscope
An ion consists of one or more atoms and carries a unit charge of electricity. Those that are negative ions (hydroxyl and acidic atoms or groups) are called anions (cf. cation).
A general-purpose device for molecular manufacturing, capable of guiding chemical reactions by positioning molecules.
The smallest unit of a chemical element, about a third of a nanometre in diameter. Atoms make up molecules and solid objects.
- Atomic force microscopy / microscope (AF
Atomic force microscopy is a technique for analysing the surface of a rigid material all the way down to the level of the atom. The atomic force microscope was invented in 1986 uses a mechanical probe to magnify surface features up to 100 000 000 times, and produces 3D images of the surface. AFM uses various forces that occur when two objects are brought within nanometres of each other. An AFM can work either when the probe is in contact with a surface, causing a repulsive force, or when it is a few nanometres away, where the force is attractive. AFM is being used to understand materials problems in many areas, including data storage, telecommunications, biomedicine, chemistry, and aerospace. AFM is derived from a related technology, called scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM). The difference is that AFM does not require the sample to conduct electricity, whereas STM does. AFM also works in regular room temperatures, while STM requires special temperature and other conditions.
Miniaturization engineering or MEMS applied to biotechnology or medicine. In BioMEMS the number of materials involved is much larger than in a comparable electronics application. Both instruments and sensors are used in BioMEMS. Applications include: forensic science (e.g. DNA); clinical diagnostics (e.g. glucose in blood); product development (e.g. new drug); and quality control (e.g. pH of swimming pools).
The concept of taking ideas from nature, operating on the nanoscale, and implementing them in a technology such as engineering, design, computing or other areas.
Building organic and inorganic structures atom-by-atom, or molecule-by-molecule. Cf. top-down.
- Brownian Assembly
Brownian motion in a fluid brings molecules together in various position and orientations. If molecules have suitable complementary surfaces, they can bind, assembling to form a specific structure. Brownian assembly is a less paradoxical name for self-assembly.
- Brownian Motion
Motion of a particle in a fluid owing to thermal agitation.
A sphere of sixty carbon atoms, also called a buckyball. Named after the architect Buckminster Fuller, who is famous for the geodesic dome that buckyballs resemble.
A popular name for Buckminsterfullerene.
Chemically assisted ion beam etching.
- Carbon black
Carbon black is a powdered form of elemental carbon. The primary use of carbon black is in rubber products, mainly tyres and other automotive products, but also in many other rubber products such as hoses, gaskets and coated fabrics. Much smaller amounts of carbon black are used in inks and paints, plastics and in the manufacture of dry-cell batteries.
Chemically amplified resists.