To understand nanotechnology, first you should know itís a big word for some mighty small stuff. In fact, "small" as we know it doesnít even come close to being small enough.
Letís learn some things about the first part of the word. "Nano" comes from the Greek word for dwarf. Today, scientists use nano as a measure for something that requires special microscopes for them to see. Grab a ruler, and flip to the centimeter side. See how long 1 centimeter is? Now imagine if you could fit 10 million points between 0 and 1. The space between two of those points is a nanometer. Do you only have inches on your ruler? Well, imagine 25 million points crammed inside of one inch. Donít try it. Just trust us!
So, now weíre talking tiny. Something smaller than a cell in your body. Way smaller than the head of a pin or thinner than a hair on your head Ė though people who know nano say hairs can be very different so weíll stay away from that. Either way, itís definitely too small to see.
As for technology, you may know that factories make big things like cars. When it comes to nanotechnology, scientists work in factories, too. But they are called fabrication facilities, or fabs for short. Itís here where the technology part comes in: scientists use machines that take things only nanometers big, move and mix them with other ingredients, and turn them into materials that help make car parts stronger and lighter. Pants and shirts that keep stains away. Or sunscreens and medicines that work better. Nanotechnology could even help clean up polluted water or land.
Of course, scientists donít even know everything about nanotechnology. Students and teachers in colleges all over the world use those super-powerful microscopes and other machines to learn how nanometer size things work. Like all chemicals and materials, they have to be sure they know what they are doing before they use them. And they have to be very careful that they are using them right.
Youíll be hearing a lot more about nanotechnology in the years ahead. It might even be something youíll want to study in high school or college. For now,
Nanooze is here to help you learn a little bit about this super small world and have some fun while youíre