Welcome to Nanovip -
Humans have unwittingly employed nanotechnology for thousands of years, for example in making steel, paintings and in vulcanizing rubber. Each of these processes rely on the properties of stochastically-formed atomic ensembles mere nanometers in size, and are distinguished from chemistry in that they don’t rely on the properties of individual molecules. But the development of the body of concepts now subsumed under the term nanotechnology has been slower.
The first mention of some of the distinguishing concepts in nanotechnology (but predating use of that name) was in 1867 by James Clerk Maxwell when he proposed as a thought experiment a tiny entity known as Maxwell’s Demon able to handle individual molecules.
The first observations and size measurements of nano-particles was made during the first decade of the 20th century. They are mostly associated with Richard Adolf Zsigmondy who made a detailed study of gold sols and other nanomaterials with sizes down to 10 nm and less. He published a book in 1914. He used ultramicroscope that employes the dark field method for seeing particles with sizes much less than light wavelength. Zsigmondy was also the first who used nanometer explicitly for characterizing particle size. He determined it as 1/1,000,000 of millimeter. He developed the first system classification based on particle size in the nanometer range.
There have been many significant developments during the 20th century in characterizing nanomaterials and related phenomena, belonging to the field of interface and colloid science. In the 1920s, Irving Langmuir and Katharine B. Blodgett introduced the concept of a monolayer, a layer of material one molecule thick. Langmuir won a Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work. In the early 1950s, Derjaguin and Abrikosova conducted the first measurement of surface forces.
There have been many studies of periodic colloidal structures and principles of molecular self-assembly that are overviewed in the paper. There are many other discoveries that serve as the scientific basis for the modern nanotechnology which can be found in the “Fundamentals of Interface and Colloid Science by H.Lyklema