Nanomaterials Properties

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date





Nanomaterials are now essential to fields as disparate as telecommunications, medicine, renewable energy, and quantum computation. This chapter explores the following three topics: how and why certain properties of materials change as one can reduce them in size from bulk (i.e., macroscopic scale) to the nanoscale; how the behavior of certain materials is affected or dictated by the properties of the nanoscale features and structures that comprise them; and how nanomaterial properties can be controlled, for example, by engineering size, composition, or structure. This enormous increase in surface‐area‐to‐volume (SAV) ratio is one of the root causes of the strikingly different properties of nanomaterials. Van der Waals forces, surface energy‐driven phenomena such as capillarity, or surface‐dependent interactions including catalysis, absorptive capacity, and chemical selectivity, can hence be intensified by many orders of magnitude at the nanoscale. These applications include nanoengineered batteries, solar cells, fuel cells, graphene membranes for electron microscopy, and interaction with biological systems.