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Institute of Nanotechnology - Glossary of Terms
Category: General technical and industrial > Nanotechnology
Date & country: 11/12/2007, UK
Words: 154

One-dimensional structures, with unique electrical and optical properties, that are used as building blocks in nanoscale devices.

NanoElectroMechanical Systems


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

The positively charged core of an atom, an object of -0.00001 atomic diameters containing >99.9% of the atomic mass. Nuclear positions define atomic positions.

Organic LED
LED made from carbon-based molecules, not semiconductors.

Any of various natural or synthetic compounds containing two or more amino acids linked by the carboxyl group of one amino acid to the amino group of another.

The technique used to produce the silicon chips that make up modern-day computers. The traditional process involves shining light through a mask onto a photosensitive polymer (photoresist) on a silicon surface, then subsequently removing the exposed areas.

Electronics using light (photons) instead of electrons to manage data.

The generation of electricity or of electric polarity in dielectric crystals subjected to mechanical stress, or the generation of stress in such crystals subjected to an applied voltage.

A device used to plane-polarize light.

The chemical building blocks from which mammalian cells, organs, and tissues like muscle are made. Proteins also serve double-duty as hormones, enzymes and antibodies, which help fight off invading germs. Proteins are made of long chains of even smaller building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids determine the size, shape, and length of protein…

The set of proteins expressed by the genetic material of an organism under a given set of environmental conditions.

Refers to all the proteins expressed by a genome, and thus proteomics involves the identification of proteins in the body and the determination of their role in physiological and pathophysiological functions.

PVD Physical Vapour Deposition
Along with CVD, a group of surface treatments applied on tools and machine elements. In the area of machining and tooling PVD coatings are widely used to increase the life and productivity of production tools and therefore reducing manufacturing costs.

Quantum Computer
A computer that takes advantage of quantum mechanical properties such as superposition and entanglement resulting from nanoscale, molecular, atomic and subatomic components.

Quantum Cryptography
Quantum cryptographic systems take advantage of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, according to which measuring a quantum system in general disturbs it and yields incomplete information about its state before the measurement. Eavesdropping on a quantum communication channel therefore causes an unavoidable disturbance, alerting the legitimate users…

Quantum Dot
A nano-scale crystalline structure that can transform the colour of light. The quantum dot is considered to have greater flexibility than other fluorescent materials, which makes it suited to use in building nano-scale computing applications where light is used to process information. They are made from a variety of different compounds, such as cad…

Quantum Well
A P-N-P junction in which the 'N' layer is ~10nm (where traditional physics leaves off and quantum effects take over) and an 'electron trap' is created.

Quantum Wire
Another form of quantum dot, but unlike the single-dimension 'dot', a quantum wire is confined only in two dimensions - that is it has 'length', and allows the electrons to propagate in a 'particle-like' fashion. Constructed typically on a semiconductor base.

The quantum-computing analogue to a bit. Qubits exhibit superposition. Thus, unlike normal bits, qubits can be both 1 and 0 at the same time.

Random Access Memory

Radio Frequency

Ribonucleic Acid

An assembly of molecules around an 'axle'. Applications include colourfastness of fabric dyes by threading a rod-like azo dye molecule through a ring of six glucose molecules (a cyclodextrin). This assembly is a rotaxane. The cyclodextrin sleeve protects the dye, yet, despite its bulkiness, allows the colourant to fasten on to the cellulose in cott…

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
Utilized in medical science and biology and in such diverse fields as materials development, metallic materials, ceramics, and semiconductors. SEM involves the manipulation of an electron beam that is scanned across the surface of specially prepared specimens to obtain a greatly enlarged, high-resolution image of the specimen's exposed structure. S…

Scanning Force Microscope (SFM)
A SFM works by detecting the vertical position of a probe while horizontally scanning the probe or the sample relative to the other. The probe is in physical contact with the sample and its vertical position is detected by detecting the position of a reflected laser beam with a photo diode that consists of two or four segments.

Refers to the use in materials processing or fabrication of the tendency of some materials to organize themselves into ordered arrays (e.g., colloidal suspensions). This provides a means to achieve structured materials 'from the bottom up' as opposed to using manufacturing or fabrication methods such as lithography, which is limited by the measurem…

Scanning Electron Microscope

A substance, usually a solid chemical element or compound, that can conduct electricity under some conditions but not others, making it a good medium for the control of electrical current. Its conductance varies depending on the current or voltage applied to a control electrode, or on the intensity of irradiation by infrared (IR), visible light, ul…

Scanning Force Microscope

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry

Smart Materials
Reactive materials that combine sensors and actuators, and possibly computers, to enable a response to environmental conditions and changes to those conditions. Examples include uniforms or aircraft skins fabricated from radar-absorbing materials that incorporate avionic links and the ability to modify shape in response to airflow.

Scanning Near Field Optical Microscopy

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

Soft lithography
A term for a collection of techniques (nanocontact printing, nanoimprinting, etc.) that are simple in concept and based around nanostructured forms, or moulds.

Electronics that exploits the spin of an electron in some way, rather than just its charge.

Scanning Probe Microscope

Scanning Tunnelling Microscope

In nanotechnology the base material where applications are built up.

Single Walled Nanotubes

A terabyte is a measure of computer storage capacity and is 2-40 or approximately a thousand billion bytes - a thousand gigabytes.

Tunnelling Electron Microscope

Tensile strength
The maximum amount of tensile stress that can be applied to it before it ceases to be elastic. If too much force is applied the material will break or become plastic, i.e., once the force exertion is stopped the material will not go back to its initial shape.

Thin films
Thin films are atomically engineered layers of a wide variety of materials including metals, insulators and semiconductors. The major applications of thin films are in modification of the surface properties of solids. Individual films may be electrically conductive or non-conducting, hard or soft, thermally conducting or insulating, optically trans…

Tissue engineering
The application of the principles and methods of engineering and the life sciences toward the fundamental understanding of structure/function relationships in normal and pathological mammalian tissues and the development of biological substitutes to restore, maintain, or improve functions.

Top down
Refers to making nanoscale structures by machining and etching techniques.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Universal Dispensing Platform


Wet Nanotechnology
The study of biological systems that exist primarily in a water environment. The functional nanometre-scale structures of interest here are genetic material, membranes, enzymes and other cellular components. The success of this nanotechnology is amply demonstrated by the existence of living organisms whose form, function, and evolution are governed…

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy

X-Ray Diffraction

Any one of a family of hydrous aluminum silicate minerals, whose molecules enclose cations of sodium, potassium, calcium, strontium, or barium, or a corresponding synthetic compound, used chiefly as molecular filters and ion-exchange agents.