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Quiz: Nano, nano!

Good things come in small packages -- really, really small packages. Somewhat paradoxically, nanotech is getting bigger all the time. How much do you know about the finer details? (We bet you know -- or can guess -- more than you'd think!)

Want a refresher course first? Browse our nanotechnology definitions.

1. Nano is a prefix meaning "extremely small." When quantifiable, it translates to one-billionth. Nano comes from a Greek word meaning:
a. flea
b. dwarf
c. grandmother

2. Admiral Grace Hopper famously used segments of wire to illustrate how far an electrical signal could travel in a nanosecond. How long were the pieces of wire?

3. Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, believes nanotech-based analog computing will be "the foundational technology of the next decade." We know that digital data has two possible states. In theory, how many states can analog data have?

4. Because of its soccer ball-like shape, the fullerene is named for Buckminster Fuller (It's also sometimes called a "buckytube."). What structure is Fuller most famous for inventing?
a. the geodesic dome
b. the wind tunnel
c. the virtual reality CAVE

5. Optimally, atomic storage would store a bit of data in a single atom. How many atoms might a single grain of sand hold?
a. ten million
b. ten billion
c. ten million billion
Answer (Scroll to the middle of the first paragraph.)

6. In nanotechnology, this is a process in which devices whose diameters are of atomic scale, on the order of nanometers, create copies of themselves. What is it?

7. In Michael Crichton's novel Prey , the scenario in Question 6 goes horribly awry. What is the term for that catastrophic, nanorobot-created situation?

8. Molecular manufacturing deals with the design and manufacture of electronic circuits and mechanical devices built at the molecular level of matter. What is molecular manufacturing better known as?

9. A qubit is a particle so small that the addition or removal of a single electron changes its properties in some useful way. What is qubit short for?

10. Spintronics is an emerging field of nanoscale electronics involving the detection and manipulation of the spin of this subatomic particle. What is it?

How many did you get right? Let us know!

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This was last updated in June 2007
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