Sunday, 20 September 2009
In recent years, a BIG research topic has been about things very small – nano-sized to be exact. Nano-technology and nano-science have been high on the radar of engineers, scientists, and STEM librarians. Consequently, when Tufts released its new Engineering Research Guides this fall, we devoted a page to nanotechnology.
The usual criteria for anything nano is that one dimension must be between .1 to 100 nanometers (one billionth of a meter) – a fraction of a single hair. Consequently, many applications involve very slender, often invisible (to the human eye) applications. Applications for nano involve all the STEM disciplines, from specialty coatings and miniature sensors to nano-membranes for water purification.
Some debate exists as whether all of the so-called nano-applications are really new or simply being repurposed to excite interest. But there is no doubt that nano is considered to be enough of its own discipline to warrant its own Library of Congress subject heading. Apart from reference books on the topic, a growing number of journal collections publish titles dedicated to nano. The American Chemical Society, IEE, IEEE, the Institute of Physics (IOP), and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) are just a few of the professional societies with their own nano-journals and proceedings, while major STEM publishers such as Wiley and Kluwers also produce titles on the topic. Most of these have nano somewhere in the title although a very fine journal is titled simply, Small. More nano-focused items in our collection can be viewed in the Tufts online catalog as well as the aforementioned nanotechology guide.