Physical chemistry on the nano scale
Nanoscopic materials: size-dependent phenomena
Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry | 2006 | 286pp | £34.95 (HB) | ISBN 9780854048571
Reviewed by Mark Green
Initially I thought: 'great, another book on nanophysics. Why?' I was therefore surprised to find that this is an accessible book for chemists who are starting out in the area.
After a brief introduction, the second, third and fourth chapters touch on important issues such as scaling laws, Wulff's theorem (key to understanding why spherical particles are not really spherical), magic numbers, geometry and electronic structure, although I'm not sure I agree with the definition of a quantum dot on page 42 (AlPb12+ is more a cluster, surely?)
The fifth chapter introduces us to magnetism on the nanoscale, although I'm a little surprised we didn't see any real in-depth mention of magnetic nanoparticles, especially after the recent explosion in publications. The sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth chapters cover thermodynamics, surface chemistry, phase transitions - the hard core stuff, some parts of which at first glance seemed irrelevant but quickly linked to issues such as nucleation theory, shape control and similar phenomena.
The seventh chapter is (in my opinion) probably the weakest, although anyone who likes their surface chemistry would disagree. Chapter ten covers catalysis (complete with reference to odour eaters) and is much needed.
Chapter eleven addresses speculation and applications whilst describing a sensible view of Drexler's version of nanotechnology. The chapter bravely addresses health, safety and the ethics of nanotechnology which may be beyond the book's scope. We have to be careful when addressing such issues that we don't make matters worse with the already generally misguided general public.
Overall, given the highly mathematical basis of nanoscale phenomena, the book carefully explains the concepts with useful key points and selective reading. This is an excellent book that addresses the relevant issue and an ideal companion to the other RSC book Nanochemistry: a chemical approach to nanomaterials by Ozin and Arsenault.