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Nanoparticle, a thousand atoms

What is a nanoparticle?

 Automatic translation  Automatic translation Updated June 01, 2013

The most important attribute that defines the nanoparticle is size.
A nanoparticle is a body having a dimension of the order of 100 nanometers (equivalent to about one thousand atoms). This size is very small, 100 nanometers or 0.1 micron, corresponds to the wavelength of the ultraviolet radiating in the range 10 to 380 nanometers. For example, electromagnetic waves visible to the human eye (visible light), are included in the wavelengths of 0.38 to 0.78 microns, 380 nanometers for violet to 780 nanometers for red.
Moreover, the dynamic light scattering, is the only technique capable of measuring particles in solution or suspension in a sample of material.
The nanoparticles have interesting properties that are entirely dependent, because at the scale of nanoparticles, the physical attributes of these properties are different from the original material.
The nanoparticle research focuses on the benefits and performance of the product at this scale.
The aim is to find materials whose properties change if the particle size decreases below a critical size (the size at which this change occurs depends on the material). This is known as nanoscience, ie, the study of phenomena and manipulation of matter at the atomic scale, molecular and macromolecular, where properties differ significantly from those prevailing at a larger scale. Nanoparticles were detected in the 1980s, with the electron microscope with special effects. A nanoparticle is a body having a dimension of the order of 100 nanometers (equivalent to about one thousand atoms). In 2000 we began marketing of nanomaterials and since the development is exponential.

 quark matter

Image: The dimensions of elementary particles and Table of powers of 10, used in physics.

Number Symbol
10-30 q (quecto)
10-27 r (ronto)
10-24 y (yocto)
10-21 z (zepto)
10-18 a (atto)
10-15 fm (femto)
10-12 p (pico)
10-9 n (nano)
10-6 µ (micro)
10-3 m (milli)
10-2 c (centi)
10-1 d (deci)
100 1
101 da (deca)
102 h (hecto)
103 k (kilo)
106 M (mega)
109 G (giga)
1012 T (tera)
1015 P (peta)
1018 E (exa)
1021 Z (zeta)
1024 Y (yotta)
1027 R (ronna)
1030 Q (quetta)

Fields of application of nanoparticles


Many industrial fields using nanomaterials, optics, it is used to manufacture anti-reflection coatings.
In the thermal domain, they are used to increase heat transfer from solar collectors or improve the effectiveness of coolant in transformers or improve the life of batteries.
Mechanical, industrial use nanomaterials to improve the wear resistance or to create new structures, stronger or lighter.
In electronics, nanomaterials are used to increase the performance of components such as capacitors or displays embedded in mobile phones.
The pharmaceutical industry uses nanomaterials to manufacture antibacterial bandages or probes for detecting diseases. In the environmental area, nanomaterials can remediate contaminated soils at, to filter the water more efficiently.


Applications based on nanomaterials, are very numerous and all domains of activity are concerned.

NB: The Zetasizer Nano measures the size of particles in a liquid up to a nanometer by observing the thermal motion or the Brownian motion of the particle. The particle size is measured by analyzing the light scattering particles by the laser by determining the diffusion coefficient and thus the size of the particles through the Stokes-Einstein relationship.
This method is called DLS (dynamic light scattering).

Image: The carbon nanotubes are the first industrial nanotechnology. These nanotubes are strong, tough, excellent electrical and thermal conductor, they bring many qualities, used in innovative products.

 The carbon nanotubes

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