Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.
There is much debate on the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios.
Nanometrology is a subfield of metrology, concerned with the science of measurement at the nanoscale level. Nanometrology has a crucial role in order to produce nanomaterials and devices with a high degree of accuracy and reliability in nanomanufacturing. A challenge in this field is to develop or create new measurement techniques and standards to meet the needs of next-generation advanced manufacturing, which will rely on nanometer scale materials and technologies.
At nanoscale due to the small dimensions various new physical phenomena can be observed. It becomes important to measure the physical parameters so as to apply these phenomena into engineering of nanosystems and manufacturing them. The measurement of length or size, force, mass, electrical and other properties is included in Nanometrology. The problem is how to measure these with reliability and accuracy. The measurement techniques used for macro systems cannot be directly used for measurement of parameters in nanosystems. Various techniques based on physical phenomena have been developed which can be used for measure or determine the parameters for nanostructures and nanomaterials. Some of the popular ones are X-Ray Diffraction, Transmission Electron Microscopy, High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy and Brunauer, Emmett, Teller method to determine specific surface.
A look into the ultra high vacuum (UHV) chamber of a UHV scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Several grippers are mounted to move samples back and forth between the holder for multiple samples and the STM microscope, which is the tubular gold capped structure held by a spring suspension. Credit: Kristian Molhave