• Question: How do you measure nano materials

    Asked by Farrell to Hugh on 12 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Hugh Manning

      Hugh Manning answered on 12 Nov 2018: last edited 12 Nov 2018 4:32 pm

      We can measure the size of nanomaterials by looking at them under special microscopes.

      One type of microscope is called an Electron microscope, this kind of microscope uses electrons instead of light to look at a sample and can magnify thousands of times and see objects which are tens of nanometers in size. Thats a good microscope to see how long or wide a nanomaterial is.
      Here’s an example of the magnification power of an electron microscope.

      The first picture (a) on the left is taken using a camera, you can’t see anything!. In the middle (b) and the right (c) we use an electron microscope to zoom in really close so that we can look at an measure the size of the individual nanowires.

      The picture on the left (a) has a scale bar of 3cm you can see how wide this is on a ruler, in the middle (b) the scale bar is 30 micrometers, this is about the width of a human hair, on the righthand side (c) the scale bar measures 300 nanometers!