Foundations for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Foundations for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

1st Edition

By Nils O. Petersen

CRC Press

344 pages | 176 Color Illus. | 4 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781482259070
pub: 2017-04-13
Hardback: 9781138722491
pub: 2017-04-13
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pub: 2017-04-07
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Do you ever wonder why size is so important at the scale of nanosystems? Do you want to understand the fundamental principles that govern the properties of nanomaterials? Do you want to establish a foundation for working in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology? Then this book is written with you in mind.

Foundations for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology provides some of the physical chemistry needed to understand why properties of small systems differ both from their constituent molecular entities and from the corresponding bulk matter. This is not a book about nanoscience and nanotechnology, but rather an exposition of basic knowledge required to understand these fields. The collection of topics makes it unique, and these topics include:

  • The concept of quantum confinement and its consequences for electronic behaviour (Part II)
  • The importance of surface thermodynamics for activity and interactions of nanoscale systems (Part III)
  • The need to consider fluctuations as well as mean properties in small systems (Part IV)
  • The interaction of light with matter and specific applications of spectroscopy and microscopy (Part V)

This book is written for senior undergraduates or junior graduate students in science or engineering disciplines who wish to learn about or work in the areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology, but who do not have the requisite background in chemistry or physics. It may also be useful as a refresher or summary text for chemistry and physics students since the material is focused on those aspects of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics that specifically relate to the size of objects.


"Petersen’s Foundations for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology provides the basic ideas and concepts for understanding the principles governing properties of nanostructures. The book is arranged into four major sections that describe the ideas of quantum confinement, surface thermodynamics, statistical thermodynamics, and the interaction of light with matter…It is designed as a classical textbook with a good natural flow of topics. As such, it is very coherent and well structured. Each chapter has an associated "Problems" section, which allows readers to check their comprehension…In general, this reviewer considers the work primarily as a backup text to provide students with the necessary knowledge to comprehend nanotechnology and nanomaterials."

Summing Up: Recommended. With the caveats above. Upper-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals.

H. Giesche, Alfred University, in CHOICE, April 2018

"This book constitutes an excellent resource for those students and researchers who are introduced to, or work in, the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology, but come at it from other fields of the natural sciences. The selection of topics is unique — from quantum mechanics and surface thermodynamics to fluctuation theory and light-matter interactions — combining relevant subjects that are seldom developed together, or in-depth, in classical physical chemistry texts. Overall, the book is exceptionally well written and will be a well-thumbed book in my collection."

Luis Bagatolli, Instituto de Investigación Médica Mercedes y Martín Ferreyra

"Foundations for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is true to its title. It is a highly readable primer of the basic concepts required to understand the properties of materials at the nanoscale. Indeed, it is a wonderful and concise foray into the canon of physical chemistry and biophysical chemistry including basic thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, spectroscopy, molecular interactions, statistical concepts, and optics. While there are some advanced topics such as Image Correlation Spectroscopy which reflect the expertise of the author Professor Nils Petersen, for the most part the materials is pitched at the senior undergraduate - beginning graduate student level. There is a nice collection of problems at the end of the book designed to reinforce concepts for students. Nanoparticle synthesis and current applications are cleverly and deliberately omitted because such topics quickly become outdated. As such I can imagine readers with even only a passing interest in nanomaterials thumbing through its pages to refresh their backgrounds. Those with a specific interest in nanoscience will be thankful for the insights Petersen provides. This book is highly recommended."

Rob Lipson, Professor of Chemistry and Dean of Science, University of Victoria

"This book covers all fundamental aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology. It is informative for students, postdocs and researchers in nano-related majors, as well as for newcomers from diverse backgrounds, such as biology, chemistry and materials science. Personally, I like this book in the way it clarifies sophisticated concepts with down-to-earth explanations, especially that the visual art is well-prepared so that the reader can easily perceive the key theoretical points. The author supplies many in-depth problems for learners to practice and absorb the knowledge. I will recommend my undergrad to use this book as a compass to explore the nano-world."

Pu Chen, Department of Chemical Engineering, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology

"Size matters! Foundations of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology by Nils Petersen revisits comprehensively the physics of objects of nanoscopic size. The book sets out with a description of quantum confinement imposed by nanoscale to thermodynamics of objects that are dominated by surface, rather than bulk, and the fluctuations that are inherent of small systems. We learn about the specific phenomena when light interacts with objects at the nanoscale.

In the format of a textbook, including an extensive collection of problems, every section starts with the very basics of a discipline, the postulates of quantum physics, the laws of thermodynamics, the basic statistical concepts underlying fluctuations of small systems. On this foundation we are then guided to a solid understanding of a surprisingly large number of phenomena we may not even have associated with nanoscience and technology: super hydrophobicity, colloidal forces, photoluminescence or super resolution light microscopy, to name a few. By now, we realize how deeply nanoscience permeates our world.

Solid foundations are the first and indispensable step for us to create and understand, and this has never been truer than for nanoscience and nanotechnology! This well-written, enjoyable book provides students, seasoned researchers or engineers alike with the necessary tools!"

Mattias Amrien, Microscopy and Imaging Facility, University of Calgary

"Peterson has written a comprehensive and important introductory textbook about nanoscience and nanotechnology for senior undergraduate students, junior graduate students, and teachers who are introduced to, work in the field, or teach the related subjects. This well-written edited volume elaborately provides coverage of appropriate foundations, accurate illustrations, and selected problems. Anyone preparing to set off in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology will treasure this book."

Zhiyong Tang, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing.

"Nils Petersen has written a very accessible book that introduces some of the fundamental physico-chemical principles underlying the "fascinating world of the really small." The approach is rigorous, introduces the basic concepts clearly, and builds upon these concepts to address more complex systems and relevant recent applications of nanoscience and nanotechnology. While the book by no means pretends to be comprehensive, it does integrate topics that are often treated separately, yielding interesting new insights into the science of small systems.

The book is particularly strong in its treatment of surface phenomena, fluctuations in nanoscale systems, and light-matter interactions, reflecting Petersen’s considerable expertise in these areas. The references to recent literature and the problems included in the book provide useful context and a means to better understand the fundamental concepts. This book is an excellent introduction to the realm of the nanoscale."

Prof. Vinod Subramaniam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction

Why Study the Foundations for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology?

Part II: The Postulates of Quantum Mechanics

Time-Dependent and Time-Independent Schrödinger Equations

Solving the Time-Independent Schrödinger Equation

Applications to Systems with Many Electrons

Part III: Understanding Surface Thermodynamics

The Basics of Thermodynamics

Surface Thermodynamics

The Work Function

Understanding Interactions Between Surfaces

Part IV: Understanding Fluctuations in Small Systems

Basic Statistical Concepts

Partition Functions

Fluctuations in Closed and Open Systems

Measuring Concentration Changes

Part V: Understanding Light-Matter Interactions

The Principles of Absoption and Emission of Light

Molecular Spectroscopy

Application of Fluorescence Microscopy

Optical Properties of Relevance to Nanomaterials

Epilogue and Acknowledgments

Part VI: Problems and References



About the Author

Nils O. Petersen was the Director of the National Institute for Nanotechnology in Canada for seven years and a professor of chemistry and biochemistry for 34 years. He has worked in the nanoscale field since 1972, specifically with lipid and cell membranes, and has taught courses in quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, spectroscopy, and membrane biophysics. The content of this book arises in part from a course provided for junior graduate students engaged in nanoscience and nanotechnology research at the University of Alberta.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Physics