Nanotechnology and A Chemist

As a chemist, since my college days, I am reading about atoms, molecules, ions and macromolecules. Whatever goodies nature serves us are composed of billions of these atoms arranged in a certain manner .

Nanotechnology, is a field of technology, which aims to restrict the manufacturing of things upto few hundred molecules. At this scale things have properties critically different from the bulk form. For example, gold on this scale has very different color from the usual. This colour loved by women all over the world irrespective of economical status.

Another novel feature of nano materials is the dramatic increase in surface area. Due to this materials start acting as catalysts for many chemical reactions. This helps in making it possible for a reaction to happen at normal conditions.

One nanometer (nm) is one billionth, or 10-9 of a meter. A typical carbon-carbon bond lengths or the spacing between these atoms in a molecule is in the range 0.12-0.15 nm. A DNA double-helix has a diameter around 2 nm. On the other hand, the smallest cellular lifeforms, the bacteria of the genus Mycoplasma, are around 200 nm in length. To put that scale in to context the comparative size of a nanometer to a meter is the same as that of a marble to the size of the earth. Or another way of putting it: a nanometer is the amount a man’s beard grows in the time it takes him to raise the razor to his face.

Size of a typical atoms is 10-10 meters. So a nanometer contains about 10 atoms. Want to go more deeper into the wonders of God. An nucleus is about 10-14 metres. So a nanometer will contain 10000 nuclei. Still go smaller, proton is about 10-15 metres. So a nanometer will have 100000 protons. Now comes the ultimate pygmies of atomic world: leptons and electrons. These are along with electrons are the new fundamental particles. Their size is 10-18 metres. A nanometer will have 1000000000 leptons and electrons.

How God manages the things at such unimaginable levels both diminutive and mammoth? No one can fathom. And that which we cannot fathom is the God.

Leave a Reply