the VDI Technologiezentrum
the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research
the Lekkerwerken Design & Media
Available Languages: English, German, Spanish, French
This website provides an interactive exploration of the physics of microscopic systems, from the scale of a centimeter to the structure of the atomic nucleus. Three example "nano-journeys" are provided into a human cell, a light-emitting diode, and a computer memory chip. Each stage of a journey explores structures a factor of 10 smaller than the previous stage.
High-resolution digital photography, scanning electron microscopy, and computer animations are used to depict the structures at the various levels. The website also provides background information at each level about the physics, engineering, and biology of the structures studied. The size of the structures at each level are compared to a meter by analogy with the relative sizes of the Earth and common objects.
6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
6-8: 4D/M6c. Carbon and hydrogen are common elements of living matter.
6-8: 4D/M9. Materials vary in how they respond to electric currents, magnetic forces, and visible light or other electromagnetic waves.
9-12: 4D/H1. Atoms are made of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. The nucleus is a tiny fraction of the volume of an atom but makes up almost all of its mass. The nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons which have roughly the same mass but differ in that protons are positively charged while neutrons have no electric charge.
9-12: 4D/H5. Scientists continue to investigate atoms and have discovered even smaller constituents of which neutrons and protons are made.
9-12: 4D/H7b. An enormous variety of biological, chemical, and physical phenomena can be explained by changes in the arrangement and motion of atoms and molecules.
9-12: 4D/H9b. Some atoms and molecules are highly effective in encouraging the interaction of others.
6-8: 4F/M5. Human eyes respond to only a narrow range of wavelengths of electromagnetic waves-visible light. Differences of wavelength within that range are perceived as differences of color.
9-12: 4F/H3a. When electrically charged objects undergo a change in motion, they produce electromagnetic waves around them.
9-12: 4F/H6ab. Waves can superpose on one another, bend around corners, reflect off surfaces, be absorbed by materials they enter, and change direction when entering a new material. All these effects vary with wavelength.
9-12: 4F/H6c. The energy of waves (like any form of energy) can be changed into other forms of energy.
4G. Forces of Nature
9-12: 4G/H4ab. In many conducting materials, such as metals, some of the electrons are not firmly held by the nuclei of the atoms that make up the material. In these materials, applied electric forces can cause the electrons to move through the material, producing an electric current. In insulating materials, such as glass, the electrons are held more firmly, making it nearly impossible to produce an electric current in those materials.
9-12: 4G/H4d. Semiconducting materials differ greatly in how well they conduct electrons, depending on the exact composition of the material.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
9-12: 11D/H1. Representing very large or very small numbers in terms of powers of ten makes it easier to perform calculations using those numbers.
12. Habits of Mind
12B. Computation and Estimation
6-8: 12B/M9. Express numbers like 100, 1,000, and 1,000,000 as powers of ten.
<a href="https://www.compadre.org/introphys/items/detail.cfm?ID=12079">Lekkerwerken Design & Media, and German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. Nanoreisen: Adventures Beyond the Decimal. Dusseldorf: VDI Technologiezentrum, 2005.</a>
Lekkerwerken Design & Media, and German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. Nanoreisen: Adventures Beyond the Decimal. Dusseldorf: VDI Technologiezentrum, 2005. http://www.nanoreisen.de/english/index.html (accessed 3 June 2020).
Nanoreisen: Adventures Beyond the Decimal. Dusseldorf: VDI Technologiezentrum, 2005. Lekkerwerken Design & Media, and German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. 3 June 2020 <http://www.nanoreisen.de/english/index.html>.
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