Small Is Not Enough

Being Small Isn’t Enough

A nanoparticle is small, really small, but it also has special qualities. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Nanoparticles are measured in nanometers.

Vance: One nanometer is between ten and a hundred thousand times smaller than the thickness of your hair.

Nina Vance is the associate director of the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.

Vance: We can definitely see things in the nano meter scale. However the microscope we use is not like the average optical microscope that you used maybe in high school. We use a transmission electron microscope or a scanning electron microscope to look at these nano materials. Instead of using light to see your sample, you’re using an electron beam.

For something to be considered as a full-fledged nanoparticle, it’s not enough to be very small>

Vance: One of the defining characteristics of nano materials is that they have new properties, or enhanced, very enhanced properties when you compare them to larger versions of the same materials. So it’s not enough to just make something smaller and smaller and smaller until its less than 100 nanometers. It has to show new properties when it gets to that size scale.

Vance: Gold for example, changes color when its smaller, but gold nano particles can also be used as catalysts. Well you cannot use a bar of gold as a catalyst.
Silver nano particles have been produced for a very long time and we’ve known of their special properties for a very long time. Silver nanoparticles and silver salts have been used to treat wounds in World War One and before we discovered penicillin, that’s what we used to put on our skin if we had a flesh wound you didn’t want to get infected. But only now we’re calling that nanotechnology.

We’ll hear more on nanotechnology in future program. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Small Is Not Enough

One of the defining characteristics of nano materials is that they have new properties, compared to larger versions of the same materials.
Air Date:11/24/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

Being Small Isn't Enough

A nanoparticle is small, really small, but it also has special qualities. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Nanoparticles are measured in nanometers.

Vance: One nanometer is between ten and a hundred thousand times smaller than the thickness of your hair.

Nina Vance is the associate director of the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.

Vance: We can definitely see things in the nano meter scale. However the microscope we use is not like the average optical microscope that you used maybe in high school. We use a transmission electron microscope or a scanning electron microscope to look at these nano materials. Instead of using light to see your sample, you're using an electron beam.

For something to be considered as a full-fledged nanoparticle, it's not enough to be very small>

Vance: One of the defining characteristics of nano materials is that they have new properties, or enhanced, very enhanced properties when you compare them to larger versions of the same materials. So it's not enough to just make something smaller and smaller and smaller until its less than 100 nanometers. It has to show new properties when it gets to that size scale.

Vance: Gold for example, changes color when its smaller, but gold nano particles can also be used as catalysts. Well you cannot use a bar of gold as a catalyst.
Silver nano particles have been produced for a very long time and we've known of their special properties for a very long time. Silver nanoparticles and silver salts have been used to treat wounds in World War One and before we discovered penicillin, that's what we used to put on our skin if we had a flesh wound you didn't want to get infected. But only now we're calling that nanotechnology.

We'll hear more on nanotechnology in future program. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.