• Question: How do you get the nano particles so small? Do you cut them with lasers of something..?

    Asked by daviesl3 to Paige, Joanne on 21 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Joanne Davies

      Joanne Davies answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      I don’t make nano particles daviesI3 and I have no idea how they are made but because of your question, I am going to go and read up on it and find out! 🙂

    • Photo: Paige Brown

      Paige Brown answered on 21 Mar 2012:


      What a great question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Some people do indeed ‘cut’ up larger materials into nanosized objects… this is called the ‘top-down’ approach. But the more popular approach is the ‘bottom-up’ approach. We actually start with things even smaller… ATOMS of a materials, like atoms of gold for example. Then we heat up this solution and add some chemicals that react with the atoms of the material we want (gold for example) and the nanoparticles start to grow ‘out of thin air’, really they start growing up from atoms clashing and sticking together!!

      For bottom-up approaches, we can make nanoparticles in solution from the atoms themselves, and we can stop the reaction anytime to get nanoparticles of the size we want!!!! If we stop the reaction early, we get smaller nanoparticles. If we let the reaction go, we can grow larger nanoparticles!! If we make the reaction go fast or slow, we can often determine the SHAPE of the nanoparticle that grows!!!!!!!

      Sound cool?