Nano Workshop 2010


Conceptualizing the size of the nano world

Exploratorium Image Scaler compare images of objects at scales from the macro trough micro and nano to the atomic.

Size and Scale

Sizing Up : Make each nanometer a millimeter. Linda Shore.

Got Nano (Introduction to the nanoworld.)  Linda Shore

Millet by the Million

How big is Small: Measure the length of a molecule of oleic acid. By Eric Muller.

Making the Cut, How many cuts-in-half does it take to reduce a meter to a nanometer?

Metric measurement, powers of a thousandth.

Visualizing nanometers, Fingernail growth is a nm/s  Math Root

Nano Tools

Scanning Probe Microscopes Paul Doherty

Scanning Probe Macroscope A bending cantilever can be used to create images of atoms and other objects at the nanoscale. In this activity a piece of magnetic cassette tape is used to probe the distribution of electric charges on the surface of styrofoam.

Surface area to volume ratio

Electrostatic Styrofoam: Investigate how surface electrical forces compete with bulk gravity forces.

Shrinking Cubes: Cut clay cubes into smaller cubes and investigate surface area and volume.

Reaction Rate and grain size: Nano-effervescence Seltzer tablet in film can popping. Use half a tablet in each can one whole one ground.

A second version in an open container comes from nano days Reaction rates

Nano Objects of the Day

Carbon   Julie Yu.

Carbon Configurations  Use geometry to predict the shapes of carbon

Tiny Tubes  Make models of carbon nanotubes.

Soap Film in a can. A soap film may be a few hundred nanometers thick.

Soap Film Interference Use waves drawn on paper to model interference of light in a thin film.

Soap Film Colors Observe which Colors will form when interference removes colors from white light.

Permanent oil slick Create interference colors with clear nailpolish floated on water lifted onto black paper.

Nano Sunblock. The white sunblock that lifeguards wear on their noses is made from zinc oxide. Zinc Oxide absorbs ultraviolet light and scatters white light. The amount of light scattered by a particle is proportional to the square of the radius of the particle. By making the zinc oxide into smaller, nano-scale particles it can be made to absorb the same amount of ultraviolet and scatter much less visible light becoming more transparent.

Nano Pants, Nasturtium leaves are coated with natural waxy nanoparticles. Water does not wet these particles. It beads up and rolls off the leaves, cleaning the leaves and allowing them to exchange gasses with the atmosphere at the same time. The same technique can be used to create pants that resist stains.

Quantum Dots

Quantum Dots Changing the size of a particle can change the energy levels of electrons in that material, and therefore the energy and color of the light emitted by those particles.


An early essay on Nanotechnology was by Richard Feynman. There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom.


A great resource for nano explorations is NISEnet

A wonderful collection of nano object images from NISEnet is available here:

Tremendous posters showing continuous zooms into the human bloodstream, a butterfly wing, and a computer chip.

A simple scale ladder is available as a pdf here:

Podcasts all about nano are available here

Exploratorium Image Scaler compare images of objects at scales from the macro trough micro and nano to the atomic.

The National Nanotechnology Infrastructure program has an educational portal

Here is an exploration from NNIN.

Size Matters, Teacher edition

Place objects on a number line by size.

Cut a meter line in half over and over and try to reach a nanometer.

Size Matters Student The student version.






Nano object of the day


Nano Fabric /Nasturtium Leaves  

Experiments with nano-tex, the nanofabric nanodays exploration of nano fabrics.

NanoDays exploration of nanofabric

Lotus effect poster

Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2010

7 April 2010