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Credits: Y-T Cheng and D Rodak 2005Appl. Phys. Lett. 86 144101 J. Genzer, A. Marmur, MRS Bulletin 33 (2008) 742-746 Antonia B Kesel et al 2004 Smart Mater. Struct. 13,3, 512 doi: 10.1088/0964-1726/13/3/009 Images are reprinted with permission from IOP Publishing Model: Nada Fathima Chemban, Malappuram,kerala Founder and Publisher Mr. Abdul Kareem Thottoli, M.Sc., M. Phil., (Ph.D.), Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore,

Nano Ulagam The First Nano Science Magazine from India for Children Available in English, Hindi, Tamil and in Malayalam

Issue 2 June 2011

The Small World of Big Things

Advisory Board Dr. Praveen.C.Ramamurthy, M.Sc., Ph.D., IISc., Bangalore Dr. M. A. Shah, M.Sc., Ph.D., King Abdul Aziz University, KSA Dr. Dinesh.K. Sharma, M.Sc, M.Tech. Ph.D., JNU, New Delhi Dr. B. Chandra Sekhar, M.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D., Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu Subject Expert Dr. S. Senthilarasu, M.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D., (U.K) Chief Editors Nanhi Duniyaa(Hindi) :Dr. Ayush Khare, M.Sc., Ph.D., NIT, Raipur Nunnulagam (Tamil): Dr. K. Muthukumar, M.A., M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Kongunadu Arts and Science College. Kunhan Logam(Malayalam): Mr. Abdul Kareem Thottoli, M.Sc., M. Phil., (Ph.D.), Kongunadu Arts and Science College Nano Ulagam (English): Mr. Abdul Kareem Thottoli, M.Sc., M. Phil., (Ph.D.), Kongunadu Arts and Science College Content Contributed by Mr. Abdul Kareem Thottoli Editorial Board Mr. Matheswaran, M.Sc., M. Phil., (Ph.D.), Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore, Ms. Maheswari, M.Sc., M. Phil., (Ph.D.), Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore, Mr. Sajesh.P.G, M.Sc., B.Ed., M.Ed., Pang Gov. Higher Secondary School, Malappuram, Kerala Mr. Asar Ahamed, M.Sc., (Ph.D.), IIT, Kanpur Mr. Pankaj Kumar Gautam, M.Sc. (Ph.D.), North Maharashtra University, Maharashtra Mrs. Sasi Rekha, M.A., M.Phil., Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore, Legal Advisor Mr. B. Sugumaran, B.Sc., L.L.B., Advocate Layout and Designing Abdul Kareem Thottoli, M.Sc., M.Phil., (Ph.D.), Dr. R. Santhana Krishnan, M.Sc., PhD., and Balkees.K, B.Tech., M.B.A., For Free Subscriptions Malayalam Tamil Hindi English

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Nature’s Nano Technology

I will become the spider man, if I have millions of nano feet.

Nature’s Own Nano Technology many natural nano materials around us. We see many remarkable properties of these natural nano materials of the natural world when they interact with light, water and other materials. These natural nano materials are formed by arranging tens to hundreds of molecules (supra

molecular structure) into shapes and forms in the nanoscale range (1- 100 nm). The nature’s nano technology made the geckos to walk against gravity, gives rainbow like colors to

butterflies, glow to the fireflies, water repelling lotus leaves, color changing of camouflages, color and functions of milk, neural networks, temperature adaptation of pine cone, etc.,

Do you want to move like spider man? Setae Seta

Dear kids, do you know who the first nanotechnologist is? Mother Nature, the first nano technologist made natural nano materials such as proteins and other molecules to control our body’s many systems and processes. For example, the size of the oxygen carrying hemoglobin in our red blood cells is only about 5 nanometer. We just imitate the nature and learn from the nature to make new nano scale materials and nano scale devices. Nature made nano materials known as natural nano materials. There are

Ridges Have you ever asked yourself that why do we fix our wall clock on the wall with the help of a nail? Why do we fix our ceiling fan with nail and hook? Have you ever dreamt of moving like spider man on the ceiling? How does a gecko move on the wall and the ceiling? Do they use any gum or adhesive materials?If so, why can’t we see any wetness or the remaining of the gum?or do they use any hooks?If so, how can they

How Small is a nano meter? By definition, One nano meter is one billionth of a meter. One nano meter is 100000 (1 lakhs) times smaller than the ball of a ball pen. Please See the first issue. Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

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Spatulas move on a smooth and shining wall and ceiling? Then observe lizard or gecko and learn how can a gecko adhere to the ceiling? When you observe the foot of the gecko, you can see ridges and scales on the gecko’s foot (see the photograph). These scales are known as lamellae. When you use powerful microscope, you can see that each lamella is covered by fine yarn-like projections called setae of about 100 microns in length. Each seta is 10 times thinner than a single hair on your head. The setae branch and subbranch several times, Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

the final branch ending in a pair of flattened nano meter sized tips called spatulas (see the photograph). Each spatula is about 100 nanometers thick. This is the upper limit of the range of what is considered nanoscale science. Nanoscale science is the study of objects in the range of 1–100 nanometers. It has been estimated that the total number of setae on all the lemellae of all the toes of the four feet of a gecko is about 10 lakh (one million). Each seta carries between 100 and 1,000 spatulas on its branches. If there are 1,000 spatulas Page 3

How does a spider move?

in each of its 10 lakh setae, then this gecko will have 100 crores (1 billion) spatulas. The seta with the spatulas of this size fit into the little nooks and crannies on the surfaces of the table and walls and these millions of spatulas will give lots of surface contact. Even if the surfaces look flat and smooth, at nano level it is full of bumps resembling small hills (see Drawing). But, fitting of the spatulas into the bumps is not how the gecko sticks. It uses a different tactic to stick on the wall. It uses something called Van der Wall’s force. Van der Wall’s force works at the nano level. The working of Vander Wall’s at this level is very interesting. You know that the molecules at this level are positively, negatively, or neutrally charged. The positives are attracted to the negative and the neutral. The negatives are attracted to the positives and the neutrals. These are electrical forces and this force is weak, but together they can be extremely strong and can overcome the gravity also. These nano spatulas gain more adhesion as they move across the Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

surface. This causes them to gain extreme adhesion and to be very sticky. These millions of spatulas give more surface contact, the result is more adhesion. This force allows the gecko to stick to any surface it is on, including underwater and in many materials. If the gecko walks through dirt and gets his setae and spatulas dirty, it affects how he sticks, but it only takes few steps to clean off all the dirt. This does not work like other adhesive forces like tape. If the dirt increases on tape, the force it takes to pull it up decreases. If there is not a lot of surface contact the adhesive force is not as strong as the adhesive force with more surface contact. Each of the geckos’ one million seta can hold up to 180 micro Newtons, which means all of them together can hold up to 180 Newtons. The average weight of gecko is 2.2 Newtons and only approximately twelve thousands setas are needed to stick on the ceiling. If your own hand had the same sticking power, you can move like spider man.

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Spiders also use the same van der Waals force by using the same technology of Gecko, that is nano legs or nano hairs. Here you can see the image of the foot of a jumping spider Evarcha arcuata. You can see a bunch of hairs called scopula on the bottom of the spider’s leg and

each of the individual hair is again covered with smaller hairs called setae. Each Seta is densely covered with numerous smaller hairs, called setules that make the spider stick. They are very dense and broaden towards the tip and end in a triangular sail-like area. The

Adhesive tape and gecko foot Intermolecular Electrical Force (electromagnetic forces between molecules) is the reason behind the tape and gecko foot. The tape has a rubbery composition that at the molecular level has properties similar to a liquid. The tape makes intimate contact with the surface so that more inter molecular electrical attractions occur to cause adhesion. The force in tape is from dipole-dipole interaction.In the case of the gecko, it induces a dipole (van der Waals, which are weak and temporary) interaction. Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

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triangular tips of the setules stick to surfaces directly, by the van der Waals force. Evarcha arcuata spider has 624,000 setules (feet) to stick on a surface. How many people you can hold on your back? DO you know that this spider can hold 173 similar spiders on its shoulder without falling from the ceiling. This Van der Waals adhesion is not affected by the surrounding environment such as wet, dry or greasy, the only thing that affects it is the distance between the two objects. Then how do they move when they are stuck on the surface with the huge force?

They lift each setules successively, so they need to apply only very small force to move on the surface.

Self cleaning technology of natural materials

Beetles and flies are also using the same technique of the gecko and spider. Then why cant we stick on the wall when there is the same van der Waals force existing between our hand and the wall? You may have got the answer, that we don’t have nano hairs or feet to give maximum surface contact. But, we can make it.

a)Magnified image of lotus leaf b)Higher magnified image c)lotus leaf and water drops

Have you observed the cover image? Have you seen that self cleaning leaves or feathers (for example duck’s feather) in your surroundings?. Why does not water spread on those surfaces? It is the nano technology of nature.

van der Waals Force The movement of electrons in atoms and molecules causes them to become dipolar, like north and south poles of a magnet. A dipolar atom or molecule has a "positive-pole" and a "negative-pole". The positive-pole of one atom or molecule will be attracted to the negative-pole of another. This particular electrostatic attraction is called the van der Waals force, similar to the magnetic attraction between north and south poles of magnets. Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

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These types of leaves (for example lotus leaf - Nelumbo nucifera) are not smooth but very rough and covered with micrometer-sized papillae decorated with nanometer branch-like protrusions covered in one nano meter size wax crystals. The wax crystals are hydrophobic (water repelling) and so they repel water droplets and help prevent wetting of the leaf surface. Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

The combination of these microand nano-scale features greatly reduces the contact area between the surface and water molecules. You know that the surface area of the leaf is enormous, but the billions of tiny contact points don't allow the contact angle between the surface and water droplets to reach the critical angle to break the surface tension. This “Lotus Effect” helps one millimeter sized water droplets to keep in its spherical or "bead" shape and simply rolls off the leaf with collecting any dust or dirt. This self cleaning made the lotus as a symbol of purity. Cabbages, reeds and the wings of butterflies and dragonflies also use this technique. Page 7

Who colored the Butterfly? Have you seen blue morpho butterfly? This butterfly has beautiful shimmering blue wings. You might think that blue morpho using blue pigments for this vibrant color, but there is no blue pigment in its wings.


Teaching Nanoscale Science to K-12 Students “If you do not stimulate a child's normal curiosity at a young age to better understand their world and how it relates to them as humans, you have lost them forever”. Judith Light Feather President, The NanoTechnology Group Inc., USA

Why do all students have to learn about nanoscale science?

See the microscopic images; you can see that the butterfly's wing is covered with tightly packed rows of clear scales. Each of these layer is 62 nanometers thick and they are 207 nanometers apart. This spacing of 207 nm is the reason for reflecting shimmering blue light. If the spacing varies and the angle of incident rays varies, it reflects lights of other colors. Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

The interaction of light with these nanoscale structures are reason behind the brilliant colors of butterfly's wings, not because of any pigments. You may have also seen that the color of camouflages are changing, they use the same technique for changing its colors for defensive purpose.

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Over the past 15 years I have attempted to answer this question in many ways, sometimes successfully and more often than not, have faced objections from all levels of educators. There are many stumbling blocks placed against inclusion of new areas of science in all grades. Many educators have become complacent teaching only the required standard-based curriculum for students in K-12. Many educators state that students are struggling to learn the basics in these primary subjects and are not competent in passing standardized testing in math, reading and grammar. Therefore, science topics are considered too difficult for them Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

to comprehend at an early age. Getting past this first objection, along with the fact that teachers are overloaded with paperwork, mandatory state and federal testing and do not have time to introduce a new subject, has been an ongoing challenge. The second issue stated by teachers, “They do not know where to insert the resources developed as nanoscale science curriculum into their current teaching matrix. The universities that developed the curriculum did not match it to their current textbooks.” In the United States, science was not even considered a standardized subject until 4th grade Page 9

and was not included in the testing in many states until 8th grade. Congress finally mandated testing for both grades in 2010. New standards for how to teach science are now in process of development organized by the National Research Council's (NRC) Committee on “A Conceptual Framework to Develop New Science Education Standards for K-12.” There is no guarantee

mathematics (STEM) performance in the educational system, without addressing the most prominent size of science in these efforts. Grades K-12 are particularly important as they are the effective gestation point for future ideas and information. If you do not stimulate a child's normal curiosity at a young age to better understand their world and how it relates to them as

“Science is the study of nature and how the world works.” that nanoscale science will be mentioned, or included in this new framework, nor if the current method of teaching disconnected topics without any depth will be addressed. All changes and decisions normally take a decade to appear in the classrooms, and another decade to evaluate. Government leaders do not understand that the nanotechnology revolution waits for no man, woman...or child. They wish to revitalize science, technology, engineering, and

Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

humans, forever.





Science is the study of nature and how the world works. The advances in microscopy over the past two decades have allowed our scientific communities to see into the atomic level, move and manipulate atoms, and create new advances in all branches of science from the microscopic to the cosmos. Nanoscale science is the size where we can see the underlying energy of atoms and particles before they become matter. If we were to teach

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“it is our obligation to introduce this size of science to all students” our young students this size of science, allowing them to compare the visual elements of the atomic scale, versus everything they see in the macro scale, it would be taught as 'the foundation of nature'. It is not a separate subject to be added – it is a size – that is of extreme importance in understanding the patterns and relationships of nature that surround us in our everyday lives. Therefore, it is our obligation to introduce this size of science to all students with visual elements that show atoms in movement at the nanoscale as the foundation of nature, before it becomes matter. Countries around the world are slowly addressing these issues and developing separate courses mostly for high school students. They still teach physics, chemistry and biology as separate topics in science, rather than integrating them into a field of expanding knowledge that we can now see at the nanoscale of science. Very few are addressing middle school or

Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

primary grades except for the country of Taiwan. Their program was titled Nanotechnology Human Resources Development (NHRD) and started with six professors and two seed teachers in 2002. They included the younger students from the beginning of their project and the teachers developed an array of textbooks, animated videos, comic books, coloring books and educational video games between 2002-2007. In their 2009 report, they stated that all the original materials that were developed in Taiwanese, have now been translated into English. It is my hope that they make them available over the internet for other countries to adopt.

Developing teaching materials for nanoscience in the native language of young students is very important for them to understand the concepts and why this size of science will relate to everything in their Page 11

future. All technologies in the next decade will advance in all areas of science based on this new underlying size of nature. If we continue to ignore our responsibility to expand our students’ knowledge base by including this size as 'the foundation of nature', we are ensuring that they will never compete in a global marketplace.

Embracing the nanoscience education that has been provided by the editors of this magazine in the native languages of the children in India is a first step in providing an expanded knowledge base that is necessary for their future. Resources developed by all countries can be shared globally if teachers take the time to translate the curriculum into their native languages for the young students. The recent book titled: Nanoscience Education, Workforce Training and K-12 Resources, CRC Press, provides Internet links to all global resources Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

for K-12 teachers, along with development tools. The following project for India will provide students without electricity access to these resources with advanced electronic notepads in the near future. Thanks to a partnership1 between Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Houston's Rice University and an Indian nonprofit, Villages for Development and Learning Foundation (ViDAL), some of the estimated 100 million Indian children who attend schools without electricity may soon have access to one of the world's most advanced electronic notepads. India's full economic potential will only be realized with sustainable, low-cost technologies that benefit all segments of the population," said Krishna Palem, a Rice University professor who is leading an effort on three continents to create a lowcost, electronic version of the handheld slates that millions of Indian children use in schools today.

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Palem's brainchild – a device dubbed the I-slate – is in development at the Institute of Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAID) at NTU. The first prototypes of the I-slate, which were built at NTU last summer by a team that included three Rice undergraduates, are set to undergo their second round of tests in India. Palem, who directs ISAID, said the I-slate is the first of a series of electronic notepads being built around a new class of green, powerstingy microchips that use a fraction of the electricity of today's computer chips. Under development in partnership between ISAID and Switzerland's Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, the chips will make it possible for the I-slate to run on solar power from panels similar to those used in hand-held calculators. These new electronic pads along with the new nanoscience curriculum in three native languages, recently developed for young K-12 students are important steps in the right direction for India.

Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

Even though it has been established that English is the global language of science for conferences, publishing in journals and for exchange students, the very beginning lessons for K-6 students need to be in native languages using visual formats, interactive games, or use of online remote nano-labs1 for observing the atomic scale of science for experiments. It is my hope that you, as readers, will understand why all students need to learn nanoscale science and move toward inclusion in your own countries. References: 1 Helen R. Quinn, PhD (NAS), Chair, NRC Committee to Develop Conceptual Framework for New Science Standards, Chair, NRC Board on Science Education 2 Light Feather, Judith, The 1st International Collaboration in U.S. On K-12 nanoscience courses, 2009, 3 Light Feather, Judith, Aznar, Miguel F., Nanoscience Education, Workforce Training and K-12 Resources. CRC Press, ISBN: 978-1-4200-5394-4 4 Press Release: Rice University, November 8, 2010, 5 University of Virginia, Virtual Nano Lab K-12. , nce_class/Nanoscience_class.htm

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EXPERT’S VIEW Nanotechnology: A Garden of the physical sciences Dr. M.A. SHAH Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, E.mail: From this “Garden of the physical sciences”, researchers from all academic disciplines could harvest solutions for the major crises facing the world in terms of energy, water shortages, hunger, an ailing environment, inefficient education, terrorism, poverty, fatal viruses and a lack of leisure time. Innovations at the intersection of medicine, biotechnology, engineering, physical sciences and information technology are spurring new directions in R&D, commercialization and technology transfer. The future of nanotechnology is likely to continue in this Interdisciplinary manner. Nanotechnology is the next “industrial revolution”, and all most all industries will be radically transformed by it in a few years. Much like information technology, nanotechnology is expected to be embodied in many products. The product of nanotechnology is not itself a final product, but it goes into something, for example a machine that becomes a product. Atoms are the building blocks of all matter in our universe. We all are made up of atoms. Manufactured products are made Nano Ulagam Issue 2 June 2011

from atoms. The properties of those products depend on how those atoms are arranged. If we rearrange atoms in coal we can make diamond. If we rearrange the atoms in sand (and add a few other trace elements) we can make computer chips. If we rearrange the atoms in dirt, water and air we can make potatoes. Nanotechnology is the study of atoms and the world as you know it. Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of atoms and molecules to create new products and improve existing ones. It is the ability to look deep into what and how basic elements are created and how they can be manipulated to benefit mankind. It is an engineering discipline (by definition) in which the goal is to build devices and structures that have every atom in the proper place. By means of this general purpose material-processing technology it will be possible to build almost any rigid, covalently bonded structure. There are large number of new opportunities that could be realized by down sizing currently existing structures into the regime of nanometer scale. With Page 14

The reduction in size, novel electrical, mechanical and optical properties are introduced which are largely believed to be the result of surface and quantum confinement effects. The most successful examples are in micro-electronics, where smaller has always meant greater performance ever since the invention of transistor: faster response, lower cost and less power consumption. The unique properties of nanomaterials have motivated the researchers to develop the simpler and inexpensive techniques to produce nanostructures of technologically important materials. There is a misconception that nanotechnology is related only to high profile scientists and that it would provide technical assistance in complicated projects not related to common man. But this technology would directly benefit a common man when it comes to commercial use. But till then there is an immediate need to convert this science with proper technology. It has already established a beachhead in the economy. The clothing industry is starting to feel the effects of nanotech. In fact it is already reaping the benefits. The production of smart-clothing is easily possible by putting a nano-coating on the fabric. Fabric industries are using embedded nanoparticles to create stain repellent Khakis. This seemingly simple innovation will impact not only Khaki wearers, but dry cleaners, who will

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find business declining, detergent makers, who will find less of their product moving off the shelf and stain removal makers who will experience a sharp decrease in customers. Imagine a shirt which protects you from cold during chilly weather, as well as provides you cooling effect during the hot season. Also, if it is light coloured at high temperature, it could transform into dark colour during winters, so as to provide soothing effect. It has played a major role in development of sensors. If these sensors are fitted into the uniform of soldiers and their blood comes in contact with the sensor, it would pass information about the wearer’s condition to the headquarters. Besides, the sensors we are talking about can even help in monitoring of environment and could provide data on the amount of undesirable elements present in the atmosphere. This modest, fairly low tech approach of nanotechnology is just a small tip of a vast iceberg-an iceberg that threatens to sink even the unsinkable companies.

Reader’s Comments: “Very nice to see the first edition and all the very best for your service”: Boopathy from Erode, Tamilnadu “Nice work. It will be a good teacher to the young scientists. Hats off for the wonderful work and I wish this work continue and should reach all.”: Abhirami from Coimbatore, Tamilnadu

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Nano Ulagam, Issue 2  
Nano Ulagam, Issue 2  

Free nano science magazine for school children