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Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology by Chris Binns

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Chapter 4

The Nanotechnology Toolkit

A good deal of nanotechnology is about learning how to make various types of nanostructure—for example, nanoparticles, nanotubes, fullerenes, and so on—and some of the most exciting applications are in combining these different types of structure. The other side of the coin, however, is the ability to image them and probe them to study their properties, and this is what has only become possible in the last few decades. One could argue that nanostructures have been used in technology since the invention of Indian ink, which was probably in China around 2700 B.C. and in its simplest form is a suspension of carbon nanoparticles in water. Also, potters have been using glazes and glass stains based on metal nanoparticles for centuries (for example, see Fig. 0.2). What has really changed in recent years is the ability to study nanostructures at the nanometer level, determine the properties of individual nanoparticles, and, as a result, manipulate them to do what we want. Thus modern nanotechnology developed alongside the probes that enable us to image, measure, and manipulate the nanostructures.

In this chapter the various modern techniques that have been developed to produce nanostructures both by bottom-up and top-down methods will be described in the first part of the chapter. The second part is devoted to some of the probes that are used to study and manipulate the structures. To present every available experiment or probe is beyond the scope ...

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