Siegel, Richard W. Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Multilayers and clusters
- Synthesis and properties
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A material structure assembled from a layer or cluster of atoms with size of the order of nanometers. Interest in the physics of condensed matter at size scales larger than that of atoms and smaller than that of bulk solids (mesoscopic physics) has grown rapidly since the 1970s, owing to the increasing realization that the properties of these mesoscopic atomic ensembles are different from those of conventional solids. As a consequence, interest in artificially assembling materials from nanometer-sized building blocks, whether layers or clusters of atoms, arose from discoveries that by controlling the sizes in the range of 1–100 nm and the assembly of such constituents it was possible to begin to alter and prescribe the properties of the assembled nanostructures. (Many examples of naturally formed nanostructures can be found in biological systems, from sea shells to the human body.) See also: Mesoscopic physics
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