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Updated on: July 15, 2010  
     
  RESOURCES - What is Nanotechnology and What are Nanomaterials?  
 
 
A nanometer is equal to 10-9 meter. Atoms, which are often modeled as solid spheres, are typically about 0.3 nm in diameter, human hair is 1000 nm in diameter and the typical human being has a height of the order of 1000000000 nm (1 m!).

The field of nanomaterials, involves materials that have at least one dimension of the order of 100 nm or less. Processing and studying materials with such small dimensions presents its own challenges. Imagine splitting a human hair into two along its length. Difficult, right? Now imagine splitting some thing that is 1/10 th the size. Even more difficult, aye? Nanomaterial scientists process and study materials that are even smaller.

The term nanotechnology, as the name would suggest involves technologies based on dimensions of the order 1000 nanometers or less. The computer chip that enables you to read this article is the best example. A typical feature size on this chip is about 65 nm and is the best example of the success of nanotechnology.

For more information on nanomaterials and nanotechnology at MRC visit the home page and click on the photos.

 
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