Nanotechnology and A Chemist

As a chemist, since my college days, I am reading about atoms, molecules, ions and macromolecules. Whatever goodies nature serves us are composed of billions of these atoms arranged in a certain manner .

Nanotechnology, is a field of technology, which aims to restrict the manufacturing of things on few hundred molecules and so on. At this scale things have properties critically different from the bulk form. For example, gold on a nanoscale have very different color from its traditional luster loved by women all over the world and in which matter there is no differentiation between rich and poor, high or low: all boundaries melt under the onslaught of this desire.

Another novel feature of nano materials is that surface area increases dramatically and materials start acting as catalysts to many chemical reactions making it possible to make a reaction happen at ordinary conditions of pressure and temperature instead of their traditional extreme conditions.

One nanometer (nm) is one billionth, or 10-9 of a meter. For comparison, typical carbon-carbon bond lengths or the spacing between these atoms in a molecule, are in the range .12-.15 nm, and a DNA double-helix has a diameter around 2 nm. On the other hand, the smallest cellular lifeforms, the bacteria of the genus Mycoplasma, are around 200 nm in length. To put that scale in to context the comparative size of a nanometer to a meter is the same as that of a marble to the size of the earth. Or another way of putting it: a nanometer is the amount a man’s beard grows in the time it takes him to raise the razor to his face.


Size of a typical atoms is 10 to the power -10 meters. So a nanometer contains about 10 atoms. Want to go more deeper into the wonders of God. An nucleus is about 10 raised to power -14. So a nanometer will contain 10000 nuclei. Still go smaller, proton is about 10 raised to power -15 . So a nanometer will have 100000 protons. Now comes the ultimate pygmies of atomic world: leptons and electrons, which have supplanted along with electrons, the protons and neutrons as fundamental particles. Their size is 10 raised to power -18. A nanometer will have 1000000000 leptons and electrons.

How God manages the things at such unimaginable levels both diminutive and mammoth, no one can fathom and that which we cannot fathom is the God.


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