Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

December 3, 2009

The fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology are now sufficiently mature that most top universities offer a course in these and related subjects. That in turn calls for a textbook. Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is designed to be used for a full year's course, divided into two halves. The first half is intended to cover the principles of studying and manipulating matter on the very small scale - this is nanoscience. The second half is about using very small structures for applications - this is nanotechnology.

The book is carefully structured. Each part contains chapters on the topics you would expect, generally rather well up to date, and also covers topics that you may not expect to see. Thus chapter three describes characterisation by a range of microscopy techniques, preceded by chapter two with an introduction to the societal issues of nano. In Part II, chapter 16 describes applications of quantum metrology, preceded by chapter 15 with sections on planning career paths and even founding a company. Both quantum nano and bio nano are introduced.

Given the need, and given the comprehensive scope and length of this book, why am I less than unstinting in my praise? First, because I find the depth to which it goes uneven. In many places the reader is presented facts with an adequate but rather superficial explanation. But then in the section on molecular dynamics, the reader is introduced to Nordsieck/Gear predictor-corrector methods - I just don't think that a student for whom the earlier level is about right would ever use this.

Second, many of the facts are not very accurate, or are presented in a misleading way. We are told, with no further explanation, that "C60 is an extremely stable molecule (in the kinetic sense). C60 is not a stable molecule in the thermodynamic sense due to extreme bond strain." In the discovery of fullerenes, Sir Harry Kroto has mysteriously been teleported from Sussex to Essex. "This type of philosophy has already been accomplished at the microscale" is followed two sentences later by "A molecular mill mechanism is shown in Figure 16.12." An alert reader may spot that this is a transition from fact to fantasy.

It is printed on glossy paper with lots of colour photographs. With more than 1,500 pages this is intended to be a very comprehensive textbook. And if you find it too thick to lug around, you can buy it as two separate volumes.

Who is it for? Undergraduate and graduate students taking a detailed course in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Presentation: Colourful and readable, with lots of references and problems.

Would you recommend it? Yes, provided the lecturer and students retain their critical faculties.

Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Authors: Gabor L. Hornyak, Harry F. Tibbals, Joydeep Dutta and John J. Moore

Edition: First

Publisher: CRC Press

Pages: 1,574

Price: £77.99

ISBN: 9781420047790

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