Nanoparticles – The Basics

The size and properties of a nanoparticle require a different kind of thinking.

 

At the nano scale, physical forces are replaced by chemical and molecular laws that govern how particles interact. Nanotechnology is not simply working at ever smaller dimensions; rather, working at the nanoscale enables scientists to utilize the unique physical, chemical, mechanical, and optical properties of materials that do not naturally occur at the visible size scale.

Essentially, this means that you’re working with a different material; the most important property being Specific Surface Area (SSA) defined as the total surface area of a material per unit of mass or volume.

Macro Scale: 100 μm
Specific Surface Area: Low

At the macro scale, the ratio of atoms exposed to the outer surface of the particle is low in comparison to the total amount of the atoms. Proportionately fewer atoms are available to interact. Therefore, the bulk properties dominate over those of individual atoms or molecules. 

Micro Scale: 1 μm
Specific Surface Area: Higher

At the micro scale, the potential for particle interaction increases making the materials more reactive.  Strong van der Waals, electrostatic, structural and Born surface forces become more dominant and play a larger role in the behaviour and properties of the particle. 

Nano Scale: 1-100 nm
Specific Surface Area: Highest – 
nForcer Sized

At the nano scale, the material properties change significantly from those at larger scales. This is the size scale where so-called quantum effects rule the behavior and characteristics of particles.  This is where the physics of the properties of electrons in solids become dominant.

When the particle size is at the nano scale, properties such as melting point, fluorescence, electrical conductivity, magnetic permeability, and chemical reactivity change as a function of the size of the particle. A fascinating and powerful result of the quantum effects at the nano scale is the concept of “tunability” of properties.

Smaller is Better: The Effectiveness of the nForcer

Specific Surface Area vs Particle Radius for a Sphere

Our goal is to leverage our knowledge and understanding of this technology to transform various industries.

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