Trapping nanoparticles with optical tweezers

By exploiting a particular property of light diffraction at the interface between a glass and a liquid, researchers have demonstrated the first optical tweezers capable of trapping nanoscale particles.

Nanoscale machines convert light into work

Researchers have developed a tiny new machine that converts laser light into work. These optically powered machines self-assemble and could be used for nanoscale manipulation of tiny cargo for applications such as nanofluidics ...

Measuring adhesion and friction of polymer nanofibers

Using a device small enough to fit on the head of a pin, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gained new knowledge about the properties of polymer fibers at the nanoscale—knowledge that can inform ...

Engineers manipulate color on the nanoscale, making it disappear

Most of the time, a material's color stems from its chemical properties. Different atoms and molecules absorb different wavelengths of light; the remaining wavelengths are the "intrinsic colors" that we perceive when they ...

Invisible plastics in water

A Washington State University research team has found that nanoscale particles of the most commonly used plastics tend to move through the water supply, especially in fresh water, or settle out in wastewater treatment plants, ...

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Nanoscopic scale

The nanoscopic scale usually refers to structures with a length scale applicable to nanotechnology, usually cited as 1-100 nanometers. The nanoscopic scale is roughly speaking a lower bound to the mesoscopic scale for most solids.

For technical purposes, the nanoscopic scale is the size at which the expected fluctuations of the averaged properties due to the motion and behavior of individual particles can no longer be reduced to below some desirable threshold (often a few percent), and must be rigorously established within the context of any particular problem.

The 'nanoscopic scale' is sometimes marked as the point where the properties of a material change; above this point, the properties of a material are caused by 'bulk' or 'volume' effects, namely which atoms are present, how they are bonded, and in what ratios. Below this point, the properties of a material change, and while the type of atoms present and their relative orientations are still important, 'surface area effects', also referred to as quantum effects, become more apparent-these effects are due to the geometry of the material (how thick it is, how wide it is, etc), which, at these low dimensions, can have a drastic effect on quantized states, and thus the properties of a material.

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