The World of Dots and BeadsFascination Nano

A nanoparticle is an entity made up of a few to not more than several thousand atoms or molecules. The name refers to the size of the particle, or more precisely the diameter, which is typically 1 to 100 nanometers in at least one of three dimensions. A nanometer corresponds to 10 to the power of minus 9 = 0.000 000 001 meter.
The prefix “nano” comes from the Greek word “nanos” and means “dwarf” or “dwarflike.”

Nanoparticles can be formed naturally (for example, by a volcano eruption or forest fire, but also even by a burning candle) as well as artificially (for example, as exhaust fumes).

Often nanoparticles are selectively provided with new and industrially useful properties and/or functionalities. Examples include electrical conductance, chemical reactivity, magnetism or fluorescence.
This allows classification of nanoparticles according to their chemical and physical properties into different families of elements or substances including:

  • carbon nanoparticles (fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, CNT),
  • metal and semimetal oxides (silicon dioxide (SiO2), titanium dioxide, (TiO2), iron oxide (Fe2O3 or Fe3O4) and zinc oxide (ZnO), but also zeolites,
  • semiconductor materials (cadmium telluride (CdTe) and cadmium selenide (CdSe),
  • metals (gold (Au), silver (Ag) and platinum (Pt), ) and their alloys, as well as
  • polymers such as block copolymers,

to name just a few.

Nanotechnology is a general term for a variety of methods for the analysis and processing of materials that have one thing in common: at least one of the dimensions of the treated structures is in the range of one to one hundred nanometers. The mechanical, optical, magnetic, electrical and chemical properties of these structures do not depend on the type of starting material and its composition alone, but also especially on their size and shape. Use of nanotechnology requires knowledge of how to work with the individual components of the material as well as an understanding of the resulting self-organization or these components due to the interaction of these structures in their size scale.

The potential applications of nanotechnology are immense. Future advances in the field of nanotechnology will be deciding factors in further development of promising branches of industry. Nanotechnology encompasses fields of research from living and nonliving nature. Applications will arise in energy technology (fuel and solar cells), environmental technology (material cycles and disposal) or information technology (new memory devices and processors) as well as in medicine/life sciences and medical technology (contrast agents, probe systems and markers).

CAN GmbH have specialized in five areas from the fields of application named above:

  • colloidally synthesized inorganic nanoparticles,
  • nanostructured polymers (compounds and block copolymers),
  • nanobiotechnology,
  • home- and personal care applications as well as
  • nanoscale surfaces/thin films and coatings.