By Matin Durrani
One of the beauties of physics, I’m sure you’ll agree, is that it stretches from the very big (cosmology) to the very small (particle physics). In fact, the great questions at the heart of those fields may well have attracted you to physics in the first place. But a lot goes on in-between these extremes, not least at the nanoscale. It might lack the glamour of research into dark energy or the Higgs boson, but nanotechnology has far more of an immediate impact on everyday life than physics at either end of the length scale.
If you want to find out about some of those applications, take a look at the latest Physics World focus issue on nanotechnology, out now in print and digital formats. It covers, for example, the work of the UK firm P2i, which has developed a “dunkable” nano-coating that can keep a mobile phone functioning after being submerged in water for up to half an hour. Could be handy next time you go swimming.
Elsewhere, the issue surveys some of the 2D materials that could take the world by storm; graphene, first isolated 10 years ago, kick-started the field, but there are now countless others too, including the intriguingly named “white graphene”.
We also have a feature about the 25th anniversary of Nanotechnology – the first peer-reviewed journal in nanoscale science and technology – launched by IOP Publishing, which publishes Physics World, back in 1989.
Don’t miss either the report by Markys Cain from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory about the EU’s new Nanostrain project to develop an alternative to CMOS transistors based on nanoscale piezoelectrics.