everyday nanotechnology ... everyday nanotechnology nanotechnology is the study and manipulation of

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    One nanometer is about as long as your fingernail grows in 1 second.

    EVERYDAY NANOTECHNOLOGY Nanotechnology is the study and manipulation of matter at incredibly small sizes, generally between one and 100 nanometers.

    The tip of a ballpoint pen is about 1,000,000 nanometers wide.

    The scales on the surface of a butterfly’s wing are composed of multilayered nano-scale structures. These structures create brilliant colors and also help the butterfly shed water and dirt.

    Spider silks are some of the toughest materials known to man. The silks get their strength from thin crystalline proteins only nanometers wide.


    An average human hair is about 80,000 nanometers wide.

    A piece of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.

    OUR WORLD AT THE NANOSCALE “Nano” means a billionth of a meter. There are many natural sources of nano-scale materials, including fine sand, sea spray, and volcanic eruptions. Nanomaterials are not new. There are many examples of nanomaterials in nature, all around us, every day.

    NATURAL NANOSTRUCTURES Many technologies in today’s modern world were inspired by nature.

  • A red blood cell is approximately 10,000 nanometers across.

    Hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through the body, is 5.5 nanometers in diameter.

    A strand of DNA, one of the building blocks of human life, is only about 2.5 nanometers in diameter.

    Transistors, the basic switches that enable all modern computing, have gotten smaller and smaller through nanotechnology. A one nanometer transistor was first introduced in 2016.

    Nanomaterials are used to create displays that have better color, lower energy consumption and longer service life.

    Nanotechnology has allowed us to develop paints and coatings that are self-cleaning, have greater durability and break down pollutants in the air.

    “Smart” windows use nanotechnology to regulate UV light penetration and increase energy efficiency.

    THE HUMAN BODY Much of our basic biology happens at the nanoscale.

    BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION Nanotechnology enables the development of next generation materials that are stronger, lighter and more durable.

    TECHNOLOGY Almost all electronic devices made in the last decade, including today’s most advanced computer chips and personal electronic devices, were manufactured using nanotechnology.

    Nano coatings on artificial joints and other medical implants can enhance durability and reduce the chance of rejection by the body.

    Nanotechnology is at the forefront of some of the newest, most sophisticated tools used for detecting and treating cancer.

    HEALTHCARE Enhanced medical imaging, bandages that help to prevent infection and more targeted medicines are all made possible with nanotechnology.



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