Chemistry in Focus 3rd edition
Out of SciFi; Into the Lab
• Five atoms, end to end, measure a nanometer (10-9
• Human hair measures 20,000 nm in diameter.
• Can we make a machine so tiny is could navigate the
• Nature has already done this.
• Some see nanotechnology as bioimitation.
Scanning Tunneling Microscope
• 1981 Binnig and Rohrer measuring
electrical conductivity over a surface
• Noticed bumps in their measurements
which have been interpreted as individual
• Modern STMs scan surfaces of interest
with atomically fine metallic tips.
• We can not only image atoms, but move
• STM made the atomic world visible for the
• Premier tool for scientists developing
• Binnig and Rohrer were awarded the 1986
Nobel Prize in physics for this work.
Atomic Force Microscope
• STM can image only metallic surfaces
• AFM (atomic force microscopy) can image nonmetallic
• AFM tracks the movement of a laser reflected off the
back of a cantilever
• Tapping AFM can image biological samples
• Graphite – carbon atoms in layered sheets
• Diamond – three-dimensional honeycomb
• Buckyballs – 60 carbon atoms bonded into
a hollow sphere
– Smalley, Curl, Kroto awarded the 1996 Nobel
Prize in chemistry
– Named for R. Buckminster Fuller, American
architect of geodesic designs resembling C60
• 1991 marks the birth of the buckytube
– Shape is tubular instead of spherical
• A few atoms in diameter but kilometers in
– Strong as steel
– Can be made electrically conducting
Weighing and Writing with Atoms
Conducting Electricity with
• Tiny electric circuits may allow
– Flat-panel displays
– Water desalination
– Flexible, foldable monitor displays
• Doctors can encase foreign cells so that
the body will not reject them.
– Pancreatic animal cells can be introduced into
a human diabetic patient.
Artificial Cells and Nanorobots
• Can we construct nanomachines that
mimic living cells?
• Can we construct nanorobots that can do
work within biological systems?
• Current work involves targeted drug
– Protection of healthy cells from chemo drugs
– Concentrated delivery of toxins to cancerous
• Can nanotechnology visionaries go to far?
• How will the ethics of such power be