FIGURE 6–1 Left: Gold and silver nanoparticles are responsible for some of the beautiful colors in stained glass windows from medieval times. SOURCE: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Right: The colors of the gold and silver nanoparticles vary because of their different size, shape, and composition. SOURCE: Chad A.Mirkin, Institute for Nanotechmology, Northwestern University. These figures were taken from a slide in a presentation entitled “The Shifting Plate Tectonics of Science” by Arden L.Bement, Jr., Director, National Science Foundation, at the American Ceramic Society, Baltimore, Maryland, April 10, 2005, available at <>.

of the passage of food and waste through the cell membrane, generation of fuel for cellular functions, recognition of invading viruses, and full replication of the cell itself. Indeed, it has been said that the nanoscale is the design scale of nature. The amazing power of cellular machines has long provided inspiration to scientists. With the growth of nanoscience, we are in a position to develop and implement an extraordinarily broad range of new bioinspired materials, catalysts, and machines. One of the most exciting of these is the possibility of creating new power sources based on the light-harvesting photosynthesis machinery of plants.

The recent explosion of interest in nanoscience and nanotechnology has been fueled by the development of a host of new capabilities for visualizing, constructing, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale. Broadly speaking, nanoscience and nanotechnology involve three basic themes:

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