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The current rise in the interest in physical phenomena at nano spatial scale is described hereby as a natural consequence of the scientific progress in manipulation with matter with an ever higher sensitivity. The reason behind arising of the entirely new field of nanoscience is that the properties of nanostructured materials may significantly differ from their bulk counterparts and cannot be predicted by extrapolations of the size-dependent properties displayed by materials composed of microsized particles. It is also argued that although a material can comprise critical boundaries at the nano scale, this does not mean that it will inevitably exhibit properties that endow a nanomaterial. This implies that the attribute of “nanomaterial” can be used only in relation with a given property of interest. The major challenges faced with the expansion of resolution of the materials design, in terms of hardly reproducible experiments, are further discussed. It is claimed that owing to an unavoidable interference between the experimental system and its environment to which the controlling system belongs, an increased fineness of the experimental settings will lead to ever more difficulties in rendering them reproducible and controllable. Self-assembly methods in which a part of the preprogrammed scientific design is substituted with letting physical systems spontaneously evolve into attractive and functional structures is mentioned as one of the ways to overcome the problems inherent in synthetic approaches at the ultrafine scale. The fact that physical systems partly owe their properties to the interaction with their environment implies that each self-assembly process can be considered a co-assembly event.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Current Nanoscience, volume 5, issue 3, in 2009 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.2174/157341309788921381.


Bentham Science Publishers



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