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Laetitia Soukiassian December 1999

Purdue University

Some References to Start With


Nanoscale science and technology is a very recent field of fundamental studies and applications development. As an undergraduate student, I acquired some sparse knowledge on this topic through general scientific journals, conversations with my professors and an internship in a surface science laboratory. I gradually decided to choose this topic for my research projects. However I realized that I lacked a general overview of the subject that would be necessary for me to select a given project. This is how I came to undertake library research on nanoscale physics.


My objective was to find some kind of review articles that would allow any science major to become familiar with the concepts involved in studying nanostructures and have a general idea of what kind of research is being done nowadays. This turned out to be more difficult than I expected. Why? In my opinion there are three main reasons:

  • Nanoscale science is a very recent and totally new field.
  • It involves many disciplines such as solid state and atomic physics, organic chemistry, biology, engineering…
  • It can lead to a large number and a great variety of discoveries and applications, ranging from theoretical concepts to industrial machines.

Search Process

I began by looking through the library catalog by using 3 keywords: nanostructure(s), nanoscale and nanometer. I also searched journals using INSPEC, a database for scientific journals. I combined the above keywords with four journals: Science, Nature, Physics World and Physics Today. I came up with about 120 references. Many of them were too specific. I discarded proceedings from conferences and thesis’s. Some articles were obviously too difficult to understand or not closely enough related to the subject (mostly too chemistry or engineering oriented). In the remaining articles several topics seemed recurrent:

  • nanopatterning
  • carbon nanotubes
  • conduction in nanostructures
  • STM and AFM characterization and experiments
  • nanomagnetism


This is the list of references that I picked. The first one (0) is a general description of nanostructures. It’s the only review article I’ve been able to find and a good one to start with. The following 5 references are chosen to illustrate each of the recurrent topics on nanoscale physics (1: STM and AFM experiments, 2: nanotubes, 3: conductance in nanostuctures, 4: nanopatterning, 5: STM and AFM characterization).

  1. Richard W. Siegel: Exploring Mesoscopia, the bold new world of Nanostructures. Physics Today, October 1993, pp. 64-68.
  2. D. M. Kolb et al: Nanofabrication of small Copper Clusters on Gold (111) Electrodes by a Scanning Tunneling Microscope. Science, 275, 1097-1999 (1997).
  3. Sumio Iijima: Helical Microtubules of graphitic carbon. Nature, 354, 56-58 (1991).
  4. Ronald P. Andres et al: "Coulomb Staircase" at Room Temperature in a Self-Assembled Molecular Nanostructure. Science, 272, 1323-1325 (1996).
  5. Richard D. Piner et al: "Dip-Pen" Nanolithography. Science, 283, 661-663 (1999).
  6. N. John Dinardo: Nanoscale Characterization of Surfaces and Interfaces. Weinheim, New York: VCH (1994).

I did not include any reference for nanomagnetism because I wasn’t able to find any that met my selection criteria, but I wish to emphasize the fact that magnetism is definitely an issue in nanoscale physics.


This gathering of references was done over a small amount of time and could certainly be improved. In no case should it be considered as a comprehensive list, especially since the number of new articles and books on this subject is increasing rapidly. If you have any suggestions or comments please send an email to soukiass@purdue.edu


I would like to thank Professor Reifenberger for accepting to be my advisor for this project and for helping me during my research.


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