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. Scientists and engineers from several disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology and materials science use nanoscience principles for advanced applications in energy, medicine, information storage, computing and elsewhere. For example, nems could carry out surgery on a single cell or act as mechanical actuators to move around individual molecules. It means one billionth of something.

In addition to being formed on these solid material surfaces, nanostructures can also be formed in liquids. The scales on a morpho butterflys wings contain nanostructures that change the way light waves interact with each other, giving the wings brilliant metallic blue and green hues.

Because nanostructures are so small, specialized methods are needed to manufacture objects in this size range. . A single strand of DNA, the building block of all living things, is about three nanometers wide. For example, you may report a very small mass in nanograms or the amount of liquid in one cell in terms of nanoliters. When structures are made small enoughin the nanometer size rangethey can take on interesting and useful properties. Nanoscale structures have existed in nature long before scientists began studying them in laboratories. Scientists use beams of electrons or ions to etch features as small as 25 nanometers into metal, silicon and carbon-based materials. Scientists are even learning how to build three-dimensional structures at the nanoscale. . Nanoscience has already impacted our lives with innovations such as stain-resistant fabrics inspired by nanoscale features found on lotus plants and computer hard drives, which store information on magnetic strips that are just 20 nanometers thick. Buy the Full Version, you're Reading a Free Preview, pages 91 to 121 are not shown in this preview. Although breakthroughs in any research field are difficult to predict, the future of nanoscience will likely involve scaling up from atomic assembly and individual nanodevices to macroscopic systems and structures with evolving properties and multiple functions.

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