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Nanoarchitectonics is a scientific jargon term coined at the National Institute for Materials Science for one of its leading units, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA). It refers to a technology allowing to arrange nanoscale structural units, which are usually a group of atoms or molecules, in an intended configuration.
Nanoarchitectonics is further classified into two topics, "Nano Creation" and "Nano Organization". "Nano Creation" is synthesis of a new material that does not exist in Nature. For example, by peeling atomic sheets off graphite slab, a novel nano-material graphene can be obtained, which has very different properties from graphite.
A typical example of the "Nano Organization" is the development of a nanoelectronics circuit. Challenging electronic devices are produced experimentally, using previously discovered materials, such as carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, graphene, single molecules having functional groups, etc. However, their practical use is impossible without a technology ("Nano Organization") to integrate and link these devices into a system.
Nanoarchitectonics is not limited to "Nano Creation" and "Nano Organization", but rather employs those techniques to understand and use the ultimate functions of materials. The important technologies to achieve this goal involve manipulation of single atoms and molecules through physical interactions, chemical reactions, applied fields or self-assembly.
Examples of those technologies are the following:
- Physical manipulation of atoms and molecules has already been achieved using, e.g., atomically sharp needles of a scanning tunneling microscope or an atomic force microscope.
- Chemical manipulation can be realized through, e.g., electrochemical reactions induced by localized electric field in a nanoelectronic device or through local polymerization.
- Field-induced manipulation is a widely explored direction where control over atoms or molecules is achieved using various combinations of electric, magnetic, elastic and other fields. A well-known example is manipulation of individual atoms by laser beams ("optical tweezers").
- Self-assembly usually involves weaker interactions, such as van der Waals forces. Common self-assembly examples are growth of a molecular crystal, e.g., snow.
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