Category Archives: Nanotechnology / Nanoscience Book Reviews

ScanTech Technical Consulting – Nanotoxicology Testing & Evaluation of Nanomaterials

In the near future, ScanTech Technical Consulting is moving into the realm of nanotoxicology surveys and consulting for analyzing the health impact of new nanomaterials that exist or will be produced in the near future to be incorporated in many modern manufactured products. We are currently partnering with labs that are able to analyze important characteristics such as particle size, surface area to volume ratio, charge, geometry, aspect ratio, etc. in order to determine potential biological impact.

It requires a unique interdisciplinary background to perform this type of work as it melds together the fields of nanoscience, physics, human physiology, toxicology and industrial hygiene.

Furthermore, it is important to stay up with the latest research as there is very little long term epidemiological data for materials that incorporate nanoparticles, so the possible effects on workers and consumers are not well established and in many cases can only be inferred by analogous scenarios, in vitro experiments, and a good grounding in biophysics.

ScanTech Technical Consulting has this background with details found here:

Fundamentals of Nanotechnology – Book Review

Fundamentals of Nanotechnologyby Gabor Hornyak, John, J. Moore, Harry F. Tibbals, Joydeep DuttaWorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

Nanotechnology textbook review

ISBN: 1420048031   786 pages  $90 on Amazon  Published 2008 CRC Press

This is one of the best university level textbooks for introducing nanotechnology to students that I have seen so far. It not only covers a wide range of application topics (thin films, biomimetics, nanomagnetism, etc.) but goes into enough depth to explain fundamental concepts with authority. The illustrations and photos are plentiful, well executed and further the understanding of nanoscale systems while engaging the reader.

The amount and level of math can be grasped by a sharp undergrad in one of the STEM disciplines, and there are numerous excellent reference tables in here that I have not seen in any other intro or even advanced level nanoscience books. Also, addressing business and nanoscience laboratory considerations is a subject you just don’t see discussed in other texts, and help orient the reader to how research and development relates to these oft unmentioned factors.

The range of nanoscale properties that are addressed in here also highlights how interdisciplinary the field of nanotechnology is and the importance of understanding or at least knowing what roles that seemingly disparate fields such as optics, quantum mechanics, organic chemistry play in determining the behavior of a nanoscale system in such a way that novel applications can be realized.

For an introductory text, I definitely prefer it to the Lindsay book reviewed elsewhere on this site. If you are a professor teaching an Intro Nanotechnology 101 class, I might recommend that you also supplement this book with Nanotechnology: Understanding Small Systems (also reviewed on this website) for the additional worked equations.

Even for more advanced students and professors, this book is good as a refresher / icebreaker for details on nanoscience sub-topics that they may be less familiar with, but wish to begin investigating or remembering.

Nanotechnology: Understanding Small Systems

Nanotechnology: Understanding Small Systems 1st Edition Hardcover by Ben Rogers, Jesse Adams, Sumita Pennathur

CRC Press 2008WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder

Nanotechnology Understanding Small

ISBN 0849382076 –  416 pages   $65.00 on Amazon  Published 2007

This is one of my favorite introductory texts for nanoscience as the writing is clean, detailed and well-organized so that you can easily find information on specific topics. There are numerous analogies and illustrations throughout the text which do an excellent job of explaining complex topics.

The associated math is presented as a near perfect balance between supplying key equations with the necessary explanations of the symbols and constants without being overly dense. What sets this book apart from other texts are the “Back of the Envelope” sample problems in each chapter which are worked through completely with the appropriate physical insight commentary. This form of presentation breathes life into equations which might easily be confused or ignored altogether.

There are even chapter questions at the end, though the answers are in a solutions manual which is sold separately. (which makes it a good candidate for any professor teaching a university level Introduction to Nanotechnology course.

One unique chapter is devoted to scaling laws, which is the heart of what makes nanomaterials unique in properties and application. While the book is very readable and not overly sophisticated, I feel that any grad student that masters the concepts presented within will be well armed to answer or understand most nanoscience questions and concepts.

NOTE: There is now a 3rd edition of this text just published in October 2014, but I have not had the opportunity to see what changes have been made. (the page count has not gone up by much) Please note that this latest edition has won the Amazon Favorite Books of 2014 Award.

Introduction To Nanoscience by S.M. Lindsay

Introduction to Nanoscience by S.M. Lindsey

Oxford University Press 2010  WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder

Introduction to Nanoscience OpenLibrary Entry

Other books by S. M. Lindsay

Introduction Nanotech Lindsay

ISBN 0199544212  –  212 pages   $54.42 on Amazon  Published 2010

The title of “Introduction to Nanoscience” is deceptive as it often dives steeply from everyday analogy into deep theory with little warning. While I can appreciate giving undergrad students or laymen a taste of how little they know, the roller-coaster nature of the text can make it difficult to consistently focus on certain fundamentals.

The liberal peppering of partial differential equations regarding quantum physics and statistical kinematics also makes the beginning chapters a bit daunting to wade through, especially when the author gets so focused on mathematical descriptions that critical physical insights whiz by like the landscape from inside a bullet train.

One of the main challenges of engineering and physics texts is the fine balance between highlighting key ideas without getting lost in the broad swaths of detail. Sure, give a grand tour of everything, but keep a good map in your hand.

On the whole, I like the book, but I do not recommend it to someone who has anything less than a grad level understanding in quantum mechanics and organic chemistry.

Bio-Nanotechnology: Concept & Applications

Bio-Nanotechnology: Concept & Applications 1st Edition Hardcover

by Madhuri Sharon, Maheshwar Sharon, Sunil Pandey, Goldie Oza

Bio-Nanotechnology Book Review by Joel-Anthony Gray

Bio-Nanotechnology: Concepts and Applications

ISBN 1439852146 –  300 pages   $66.31 on Amazon  Published May 2012

I am more than a bit surprised that a fresh book in such a cutting edge field is so inexpensive and seems to be a bit unknown at this time. (at least I am not seeing any reviews on Amazon as of this writing)

Despite some flaws and shortcomings, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite texts on the subject.

There is definitely more of a bias towards helpful illustrations, photos and diagrams in here than there are equations, so this is NOT a hard-core reference manual, but it is an excellent overview of some of the latest concepts and approaches in the field of bio-nanotechnology.

The areas covered are broad and what I find to be the most valuable contribution of this work is the ILLUMINATION that it provides on fundamental concepts that are too often obscured by analysis and math symbology. For example, the chapter on ATP Synthase motor dynamics is the most detailed and yet most understandable explanation I have yet encountered on this almost supernaturally efficient wonder of nature. 

There are numerous other eureka moments I encountered throughout the book while reading; the kind of “Aha!” transitions that professors and PhD students allude to when you reach a certain quantum leap in understanding and you glimpse how all sorts of “First Principles” converge, interconnect and hang together.

The only detraction at times is the glaring grammatical mistakes in certain chapters that are the obvious result of mistranslated material and/or a lack of good proofreading. This may seem picky, but in some cases the error is of such a magnitude that the technical meaning is distorted into misinformation. In one case, the number of hydrogen bonds between nitrogenous bases is incorrectly illustrated as 2 for both A & T and C & G with the ring order in DNA accidentally reversed. (the correct number is 2 and 3 respectively) Still, a sharp student or professor should be able to suss out the wheat from the chaff; I just look forward to a 2nd edition that has been more carefully edited.

All in all, if you want a good technical overview of trends in bionanotechnology or just need to review the basics, then this is a must have, but I don’t find it suitable as a primary academic textbook. (but a recommended supplement)

Fabrication Engineering at the Micro- and Nanoscale

Fabrication Engineering at the Micro- and Nanoscale 4th Edition by Stephen A. Campbell

Fabrication Engineering

ISBN 0199861226 –  688 pages   $100.00 on Amazon  Published: Oxford University Press November 2012

While the title of the book may sound generalized to making nanomaterials, it focuses primarily on the semiconductor industry and the involved techniques and tools required to build a reliable integrated circuit.

In this arena, it is an excellent primer as it contains a logical division of chapters, explains numerous concepts using both photographs, illustrations and math calculations, and even has some simple code for use in Silvaco’s ATHENA in order to perform analysis and automate simulations.

A number of the areas covered such as ion implantation, wet etching, vacuum science, etc. give a strong grounding for researchers who wish to fabricate devices along the lines of traditional processing equipment and explains the physics behind these tools. Furthermore, I would consider it required reading and/or a reference for professors and students who utilize a cleanroom in order to make devices at these size regimes.

But be aware that most any of the topics discussed in this text has enough breadth and depth to where any one chapter could be expanded into a book in it’s own right.  Furthermore, the sophistication and complexity of certain ideas could have benefited from additional clarity as this is a tough subject to follow without either the guidance of a professor who has worked in the industry, or a strong grasp of material science. This was taught as an undergraduate Electrical Engineering elective at my university and I found that a lot of EE students have difficulty understanding how chemical and/or mechanical factors influence the performance of an electrical device.

Finally, I found the end chapter questions unusually difficult as checking your answers with any confidence was daunting without a good solutions manual to help point the way. What surprised me is that this class (at the time I was taking it) did not officially count towards any nanoscience elective. Also, this book borrows very heavily from Richard Jaeger’s book:

Introduction to Microelectronic Fabrication: Volume 5 of Modular Series on Solid State Devices (2nd Edition) Published 2001

Building Scientific Apparatus: Fourth Edition

Building Scientific Apparatus: Fourth Edition

John H. Moore, Christopher C. Davis, Michael A. Coplan ; with a chapter by Sandra C. Greer. ; Cambridge University Press 2009 WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

Scientific Equipment

Building Scientific Apparatus: Fourth Edition

ISBN 978052187858 –  658 pages   $67.94 on Amazon  Published 2009

This is one of the most amazing practical laboratory texts that I have come across in long time. A must have for every mad scientist, hands on professor or grad student that is in charge of hardware, this book has both great breadth and depth. Subjects covered are everything from vacuum technology to lasers, optics, glassblowing, electrostatic lenses, electronic circuits and the literal nuts and bolts that put everything together.

There are formulas, graphs, concepts and detailed illustrations throughout and interestingly no photos. But the cleaner lines of draftsman style drawings are actually more helpful in reinforcing clarity and focusing on the essentials such as dimensions and angles and conceptual application.

The only wish list items might be supplying specific example projects with a components list such as building an SEM or STM on a budget and perhaps a chapter on software besides SPICE. Of course then the authors would easily run the risk of increasing the book size to gigantic proportions while supplying information that would get dated too quickly, and be almost unavoidably vendor biased.

Still, any serious lab rat or R&D nanotechnology equipment expert should have this on their shelf. An additional, more subtle advantage of this text is how well it ties mathematical theory with real world design and implementation. If you are struggling with certain key aspects of electrical engineering, for example, this may assist with comprehension by focusing on the core concepts and nailing down the application to real-world considerations.

Industrial Plasma Engineering Volume I: Principles – Book Review

Industrial plasma engineering

Industrial plasma engineeringJ. Reece Roth; Institute of Physics Pub. 1995WorldCatRead OnlineLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

I rank plasma science up there with biochemistry as one of the tougher subjects in the STEM fields to understand, and this book is the standard text for Plasma Technology at my university. It is well organized and thorough enough for all but the hardest core researchers, but is accessible enough for science undergrads to grasp and appreciate the many varieties and applications of plasma.

Illustrations of theoretical concepts and real-life industrial devices abound, there are numerous tables and graphs which make this a near reference grade resource, while the equations are well explained and documented in the context of the conceptual explanations.

But I would caution against just casually picking up this publication, or just handing it to someone and expecting them to understand the subject material by simply reading it cover to cover. At the least you need the guided structure of a class, or some easier to read supplementary material to help bridge the “Eureka!” gap as I call it if you want to take full advantage of the information within. That or you had better be VERY good with math and physics, particularly in the realm of electromagnetics.

Be aware that there is a 2nd Volume: Applications To Non-Thermal Plasma Processing, which is a continuation of this topic, but with a different emphasis.

ISBN 0750303174  –  339 pages  $60 on Amazon   Published January 1995

Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Systems

Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Systems by Stephen Beeby, Neil White

Energy Harvesting Microbatteries Supercapacitors

Energy Harvesting for Autonomous Systems

ISBN 1596937181 –  292 pages  $120 on Amazon  Published June 30, 2010

While on the surface this book may not seem directly related to nanotechnology, a number of the chapters discuss photovoltaic cells, MEMS piezoelectric / electrostatic generators and related refinements (such as textured anti-reflective Si surfaces and organic polymer PV cells) that do fall in the nanoscale regime.

This text does several things well: it compares and covers a number of different types of energy scavenging, illustrations of and helpful reference tables are fairly abundant, and there are enough formulas present to help anchor the relevant math to practical applications.

Furthermore, the end chapters deal a lot in the interface electronics and energy storage mediums such as microbatteries and supercapacitors so that reading the text can help outline an entire research project or product idea.

But the book does have some nagging detractions:

1) The material seems a little too thin in parts. (scaling it up by 2 or 3 times could make it an excellent reference bible)

2) With a little more effort the included formulas and math would be much easier to follow if the constants used were clearly explained in a small sidebar or table instead of having to decode the symbology by constantly referring back to the expository text which is often BOTH above and below said formula. This is very irritating as you have to move your eyes in all directions around the equation without knowing where to expect the explanation of “C sub f ” followed by another hidden object game.

As Western readers, we are used to a smoother linear flow from left to right and up to down. Some may claim you should already know what Qgs means, but the book spans topics from thermodynamics to semiconductor physics and as engineers/physicists, etc. we are all painfully aware of how “overloaded” and cross-translational some math symbology already is.

To be really innovative, I would like to have seen more of the formulas COMBINED with the illustrations so as to better anchor intuitive and visual understanding of the math.

3) Not surprisingly, a lot of the applications are geared towards wireless sensor networks. I would like to have seen some broader visions than just this, but it is not hard to translate the concepts across. Finally, the book only mentions microcontrollers in passing – some stronger information than two paragraphs on Texas Instruments MSP430 could have been warranted, but it is easy to see how a publication can lose focus if it tries to cover every aspect in detail.

But one thing I learned is that up until very recently, there have hardly been any texts at all dedicated to energy harvesting. Most of the material is scattered across publications and conference proceedings and it is really nice to see a resource that puts a lot together at your fingertips.

The strongest thing about this book is that it does not only help develop some intuition for the expectations and limitations of different harvesting approaches, but it also builds the bridge concepts to extrapolating the technology to the macro real world. As it stands, it could be a decent starting text for a single semester class in Energy Harvesting, but some supplementary information would almost certainly be required – particularly if taught at the grad level.

Introduction to Biomaterials: Basic Theory with Engineering Applications

Introduction to Biomaterials: Basic Theory with Engineering Applications by C. Mauli Agrawal, Joo L. Ong, Mark R. Appleford and Gopinath Mani

Introduction to Biomaterials: Basic Theory with Engineering Applications

Introduction to Biomaterials: Basic Theory with Engineering Applications

ISBN 0521116902 –  419 pages  $72 on Amazon              Published December 16, 2013 Cambridge University Press

This was one of the books for my Biomaterials class and it is one of the best undergrad level texts I have reviewed in a long time. The unanimous 5 star reviews on Amazon so far appear to show agreement from other students and reviewers.

The overall organization, balance and layout of the information is close to perfect, though I probably would have rearranged the chapter sequence slightly which is a small quibble. It is relatively easy to read given the concepts presented, but a previous education in materials science, organic chemistry and human / cell physiology is very helpful for putting it all together.

There is an abundance of well-done illustrations, photos, tables and diagrams which make this complex and interdisciplinary subject very accessible and this is the sort of text I wish I had as a kid. What is particularly strong and useful about this text is that they not only walk the reader through the fundamentals, but also cover a number of adjacent subjects such as characterization, surface modification, biological systems, implant sterilization, and even natural biomaterials such as collagen, alginate, silk and coral.

As for the math, there are some formulas given, and while there are other books devoted to materials science, I wish this book had gone into more detail and had back of the envelope worked examples that more fully explored the numbers behind mechanical and chemical properties. But then again, the very title of this book states that it is only a basic theory book and focuses more on applications, so it delivers what it says and very well at that.

Cutting edge topics such as tissue engineering and the role of 3D printers is also touched on, so on the whole, you get a lot for a sub-$100 book.