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  • quanteq
    Dear Nanotech Group, In the last months, I ve been building a new website: http://www.nanoword.net The goal of this nanoword network is to provide a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2002
      Dear Nanotech Group,

      In the last months, I've been building a new website:

      The goal of this 'nanoword network' is to provide a reference point
      for nanoterminology - i.e. a nano-dictionary / nano-encyclopedia:

      Recently, I've started a free, electronic newsletter in order to keep
      readers up to date on additions (e.g. words of the week), and to
      receive feedback to assure that the definitions are relevant and
      accurate for those who wish to reference them. The first two issues
      are online at:


      I'd be interested in some semantic discussion from this group.

      Steve Lenhert
      Defining Nanotechnology

      PS - The last issue of the newsletter is appended below for
      discussion purposes.
      Subject: NWN - Words of the Week, Art Gallery & Link Index

      NWN - NanoWord Newsletter #2 - March 31, 2002
      Online at http://www.nanoword.net/library/nwn/2.htm

      * Words of the Week:
      - Fullerene
      - Photonic Band Gap (PBG)
      - Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
      - Quantum Interferometric Lithography
      - Resist
      - Resolution
      - Self-Assembled Monolayer (SAM)
      - Thermocycler

      * Latest Additions
      - Art Gallery
      - Link Index

      Last week, I gratefully received various feedback, and thank all of
      those who responded. Once again I invite you to send, comments,
      questions, criticisms, greetings and other feedback to

      First, it has been noticed that perhaps the title of this weekly
      publication - NanoWord Newsletter (NWN) - is slightly misleading, as
      it does not deal with news (as is already covered by other fine
      publications such as TNT Weekly and Nanogirl News), but rather
      timeless issues in nanotechnology such as defining nanoterminology.
      I'll consider changing the title...

      Second, it was accurately pointed out that the definition of
      'nanotechnology' is useless without a definition of 'nanoscience'.
      This was done intentionally, since technology naturally depends on
      science. The definition of nanoscience linked from the definition of
      nanotechnology in the 'related words' is, "The scientific discipline
      seeking to increase our knowledge and understanding of nanoscale
      phenomena, i.e. science on the scale of 0.1 nm to 100 nm." (
      http://www.nanoword.net/library/def/nanoscience.htm ). Definitions of
      'science' and 'technology' are linked from there.

      A third point was that the NASA definition of nanotechnology
      critiqued last week intentionally excluded technologies that are not
      'novel' (such as self-assembly or the mesoamerican paint, which
      appear to be nanotechnologies in an empirical sense). Of course the
      NASA definition is most reasonable from a funding perspective, since
      there is plenty of new nanotechnologies yet to be discovered and the
      funding should probably be focused on those technologies that are
      most underdeveloped (i.e. new). However, as nanoword.net is concerned
      with communicating about transdisciplinary nanoscience as well as the
      resulting nanotechnology - past, present, and future, the general
      term 'nanotechnology' has been defined here in the most inclusive
      sense. More specific sub-sets of nanotechnology can then be given more
      specific names (e.g. molecular biotechnology, molecular engineering,
      nano-electronics, nanoanalytics, etc.).

      In light of this top-down approach to defining nanoterminology, it
      may be necessary to increase the unintuitive upper-limit that has
      been placed on the nanoscale from 100 nm to 1000 nm. The <100 nm
      limit appears to be once again economically biased, its purpose being
      to exclude the 'sub-micron' ( <1000 nm feature size ) semiconductor
      industry. However, this restriction is self-defeating for our
      purposes of transdisciplinary communication, since one of the more
      challenging aspects of nanotechnology is to integrate (or assemble)
      molecular components into larger nanostructures and microstructures,
      on up to the macroscale. Furthermore, unique and valuable properties
      can result from structuring of materials on a scale of 100-1000 nm,
      for instance the 'photonic band gap' defined in this issue. Finally,
      as the semiconductor industry steadily decreases the feature sizes
      into the sub 100 nm regime, any attempts to exclude them from being
      called 'nanotechnology' can only be temporary. Once again, we note
      that nanotechnology is here.

      * Words of the Week

      ----- Fullerene -----

      Nanoword.net is taking a more top-down approach to the defining and
      classification of terms such as 'fullerene' (as has been done with
      the term 'nanotechnology'). More specific types of fullerenes and
      derivatives will be given more specific names (and nicknames) such as
      C60 (buckminsterfullerene), nanotube (buckytube), nanohorns,
      buckybowls, and other species. Here is our definition of fullerene,
      along with links to the other varieties and nicknames:

      'A class of cage-like carbon compounds composed of fused, pentagonal
      and/or hexagonal sp^2 carbon rings.'


      ----- Photonic Band Gap (PBG) -----

      Our ability to understand and control processes on the nanoscale has
      resulted in the development of PBG materials. Mathematical analogies
      can be drawn between the interaction of photons with PBG materials,
      and the the interaction of electrons with complementary metal-oxide

      'An energy range (and corresponding wavelength range) for which a
      material neither absorbs light nor allows light propagation.'


      ----- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) -----

      The concept behind PCR (exponential molecular self-replication)
      illustrates how much room there is at the bottom of a test tube.
      While this approach to amplification of low-concentration analytes
      has been a major factor enabling the development of biotechnology,
      such chemical methods are inspiring and enabling for nanotechnology:

      'A chemical reaction that uses the polymerase enzyme to carry out in
      vitro replication of DNA.'


      ----- Quantum Interferometric Lithography -----

      The diffraction barrier is often cited as putting a limit on the
      resolution of photolithography. However, several methods are
      available for surpassing the limit, one of which is Quantum
      Interferometric Lithography:

      'A method of lithography that exploits quantum entanglement in order
      to focus a lithographic beam beyond half of its wavelength.'


      ----- Resist -----

      Numerous types of resists are being developed for nanotechnology, for
      instance photoresists, electron beam resists, nano-imprint resists,
      and more. Being a critical factor in most varieties of lithography
      (the material in which the lithographic pattern is created), a resist

      'A material or coating that can protect a surface from chemical


      ----- Resolution -----

      This term is frequently used in the nanosciences, which seeks to
      increase resolution. In common language, the term has various
      meanings ranging from 'agreement' to 'pixel density'. In the context
      of nanotechnology, resolution typically refers to:

      'The minimum distance between two objects that can be distinguished
      in microscopy or the minimum spacing between two features that can be
      fabricated with lithography.'


      ----- Self-Assembled Monolayer (SAM) -----

      With applications wherever surface functionalization is required,
      SAMs are a useful method for creating an ultra-thin, and often
      well-organized layer of molecules:

      'A two-dimensional film, one molecule thick, covalently assembled at
      an interface.'


      ----- Thermocycler -----

      Certain types of chemical reactions (such as PCR) can require tedious
      and methodical care, and can thus often be automated. Thermocyclers
      are a prime example of how automated chemical instruments can be
      programmed to assemble molecular structures on command (i.e. an
      assembler). A thermocycler is:

      'An instrument that repeatedly cycles through various temperatures
      required for an iterative, temperature-dependant chemical process
      such as the polymerase chain reaction.'


      * Latest Additions

      ----- Art Gallery -----

      The Nanoword art gallery has opened with 4 pieces including one of
      the first micrographs ever, a sub-wavelength Picasso drawing, a
      fractal and a buckminsterfullerene. Nanoartists from all disciplines
      are invited to contribute to the gallery.


      ----- Link Index -----

      The nanoword link directory has begun to organize nano-links. The
      first link categories include: publications, terminology, portals,
      discussion and education. More links are on their way.


      Copyright © Steve Lenhert
      Quanteq, LLC
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