The SeeingNano tools (available in the ‘Resources‘ section) are built around the SeeingNano Lexicon and Glossary, downloadable in full here:
A selection of key terms is reproduced below:
Three Nano Themes
Surfaces and surface phenomena
As the size of a system decreases into the nanoscale the ratio of surface area to volume dramatically increases and the system becomes dominated by the surface and the surface properties rather than the bulk (as in normal systems).
Illustrated in SeeingNano with the nano-engineered surface of a car engine piston.
Emergent and divergent phenomena
At length scales below 100 nanometers, quantum phenomena become important and new functionalities are observed which are size-dependent.
Illustrated in SeeingNano with the use of Quantum Dots in portable displays.
Self-organisation processes are where molecules or nano-sized particles spontaneously adopt an overall structure as a result of the local interactions within the initially disordered system. These assemblies are often able to survive and self-repair substantial damage or perturbations
Illustrated in SeeingNano with tooth reconstruction technologies known as self-assembling peptides.
Qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the intake of an agent with regard to the relevant routes of exposure in individual cases (e.g. intake through food intake, breathing or skin contact)
Hazard is associated with the intrinsic ability of an agent or situation to cause adverse effects to a target such as people, environment, etc. This ability may even never materialize if, for example, the targets are not exposed to the hazards or made resilient against the hazardous effect.
Qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of adverse health effects that could arise from the risk source, if necessary under consideration of a dose-response relationship.
Identification of the biological, chemical or physical agent which could have adverse health effects
Risk […] takes the probability and the scale of damage into account that a harmful event will occur. The decisive factor is the weighing of the possible scale of damage with the probability of exposure and the related harm. Thus, risk is deemed to be the probability of the occurrence of a harmful event.
Risk acceptance is related to the approval of risk decisions or risk communication.
AFM (Atomic force microscope)
A scanning probe microscope (SPM) that is able to measure local conditions of a sample including surface roughness, height, friction and magnetism that allows an ‘image’ of the sample to be built up. An AFM works by using a probe tip on a cantilver arm that is used to scan across the surface of the sample.
Also know as a micron, a micrometre is one milioneth of a meter (10-6).
A nanometre is one billionth of a meter (10-9m).
A unit of length equal to one ten-billionth of a metre or 0.1 nm. Its symbol is Å.
SEM (Scanning electron microscope)
Type of electron microscope that produces images of a sample by scanning it with a focused beam of electrons. The electrons interact with atoms in the sample, producing various signals that can be detected and that contain information about the sample’s surface topography and composition. It can achieve resolution better than 1 nanometer; much higher than optical microscopes due to the wavelength of the electrons being much smaller than that of visible light photons. There are many variants which can give additional information on chemical and physical structure. First developed in 1937.