Nanotechnology: A Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea

This book has a straightforward aim—to acquaint you with the whole idea of nanoscience and nanotechnology. This comprises the fabrication and understanding of matter at the ultimate scale at which nature designs: the molecular scale. Nanoscience occurs at the intersection of traditional science and engineering, quantum mechanics, and the most basic processes of life itself. Nanotechnology encompasses how we harness our knowledge of nanoscience to create materials, machines, and devices that will fundamentally change the way we live and work.


Nanoscience and nanotechnology are two of the hottest fields in science, business, and the news today. This book is intended to help you understand both of them. It should require an investment of about six hours—a slow Sunday afternoon or an airplane trip from Boston to Los Angeles. Along the way, we hope that you will enjoy this introductory tour of nanoscience and nanotechnology and what they might mean for our economy and for our lives.


The first two chapters are devoted to the big idea of nanoscience and nanotechnology, to definitions, and to promises. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the science necessary to understand nanotechnology; you can skip these if you remember some of your high school science and mathematics. Chapter 5 is a quick grand tour of some of the thematic areas of nanotechnology, via visits to laboratories. Chapters 6 to 9 are the heart of the book. They deal with the topical areas in which nanoscience and nanotechnology are concentrated: smart materials, sensors, biological structures, electronics, and optics.

Chapters 10 and 11 discuss business applications and the relationship of nanotechnology to individuals in society. The book ends with lists of sources of additional information about nanotechnology, venture capitalists who have expressed interest in nanotechnology, and a glossary of key nanotechnology terms. If you want to discuss nanotechnology or find links to more resources, you can also visit the book’s Web site at www.nanotechbook.com.We are grateful to many colleagues for ideas, pictures, and inspiration, and to Nancy, Stacy, and Genevieve for their editing, encouragement, and support. Mark Ratner thanks his students from Ari to Emily, colleagues, referees, and funding agents (especially DoD and NSF) for allowing him to learn something about the nanoscale. Dan Ratner wishes to thank his coworkers, especially John and the Snapdragon crew, for being the best and strongest team imaginable, and Ray for his mentoring. Thanks also to Bernard, Anne, Don, Sara, and everyone from Prentice Hall for making it possible.

About Book

Title: Nanotechnology: A Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea
Authors: Mark A. Ratner, Daniel Ratner, Rainer Waser
Length: 204 pages
Publisher: 
Prentice-Hall; 1 edition (November 18, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780131014008
ISBN-13: 978-0131014008

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