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Big Ideas and Learning Goals

Size and Scale Factors relating to size and geometry (e.g. size, scale, shape, proportionality, dimensionality) help describe matter and predicts its behavior Learning Goals 1. In order to know the size of an object, it is necessary to be able to compare it to a reference point. 2. Some worlds are too small to be seen with the naked eye, These include the micro-, nano, and atomic/molecular worlds. Each of these contains unique representative objects that help define the scale represented by the worlds. 3. The side of an object may be represented in may ways, both qualitative and quantitative, Each representation has advantages and disadvantages depending on purpose. 4. Changes in scale can affect the way phenomena work and behave. 5. An objects surface area-to-volume ratio depends on its size and shape. Size-Dependent Properties The properties of matter can change with scale. In particular, during the transition between the bulk material and individual atoms or molecules, a materials often exhibits unexpected properties that lead to new functionality. This transition generally occurs at the nanoscale. Learning Goals 1. The surface area-to-volume ratio increases as objects become smaller. As a result, as the size (length scale) of an object approaches the nanoscale, the fraction of the atoms on the surface increases dramatically, and surface-related properties become more important. 2. Some of the properties of matter change with size, particularly as the length scale of the sample decreases and approaches the nanoscale. 3. The shapes of structures formed at the nanoscale can lead to unique properties. Forces and Interactions All interactions can be described by multiple types of forces, but the relative impact of each type of force changes with scale. ON the nanoscale, a range of electrical forces, with varying strengths, tech to dominate the interactions between objects. Learning Goals 1. Small objects (e.g., atoms, molecules, nanoparticles) can interact in a variety of ways, all of which are electrical in nature. A continuum of electrical forces describes all interactions within matter on that scale. 2. Electrical forces between the building blocks are essential to the formation and functioning of assemblies. 3. Many factors, including the characteristics of the interacting objects and the environment they; are in, play a roles in the formation and strength of the interaction. 4. Electrical forces are necessary for explaining a broad range of macroscopic phenomena. Students should be able to apply their knowledge to explain these.

5. A complete description of an interaction includes both the forces that govern the interaction and the change of energy of the entire system. (More suitable for advanced high school or lower undergraduate level courses)

Tools and Instrumentation Development of new tools and instruments helps drive scientific progress. Recent development of specialized tools has led to new levels of understanding of matter by helping scientists detect, manipulate, isolate, measure, fabricate, and investigate nanoscale matter with unprecedented precision and accuracy. Learning Goals 1. Specialized tools are required to detect, measure, and investigate the nanoscale world because structures on this scale are too small to be seen with optical microscopes. 2. Scientists and engineers have developed specialized tools and techniques in order to manipulate, isolate, and fabricate nanoscale structures. 3. Although nanostructures have always existed in nature, scientists and engineers were unable to study tem or to manufacture new nanostructures until advances in technology allowed for the development of highly specialized and sensitive tools. Many of the primary tools used to study and/or manipulate nanoscale structures (e.g., AFM and STM) interact with individual atoms or nanoscale objects by means of electrical forces.

Science and Technology The advancement of science involves developing explanations for how and why things work and using technology to apply that knowledge to meet objectives, solve problems, or answer questions of societal interest. Because nanotechnology is an emergent science, it provides an opportunity to witness and actively participate in scientific progress and indecision making about how to use new technologies. Learning Goals 1. Nanoscale science and engineering illustrate the dynamic nature of scientific progress and the development of technology 2. Scientists, engineers, governments, businesses, and citizens all make decisions that affect the progress of science and technology and how new technologies are incorporated into society. 3. Scientific advancement, even a single scientific discovery or new invention, may induce extensive changes in scientific thought and/or contribute to changes in many facets of society. 4. Nano-sized structures must be evaluated in terms of both risks and benefits to human health and the environment, but because these are new materials, their effect may not be immediately apparent. Summary from The Big Ideas of Nanoscale Science and Engineering by Shawn Y. Stevens, LeeAnn M. Sutherland, and Joseph S. Krajcik (2009, NSTA Press)