Project Details Analysis of the usage of nanoscience and technology in chemistry

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
30 January 2008
End Date: 
30 September 2011


To map and critically study the use of the prefix nano in variousfields of chemistry. For this purpose, we will use the differentsearch engines available on the web to compare the usage of nano-containingterms. We will map the evolution and usage of nano-containing descriptiveterms according to different criteria, and critically analyze theirvalidity in scientific (chemical) language. This project is thefirst step towards recommendations on the use of chemistry terminologyrelated to nanoscience and nanotechnology.


The last few years have observed a wide proliferation of the terminology related to nanotechnology and nanoscience in chemistry. Today, all high impact chemistry journals contain a large number of papers devoted to this growing area, as many conferences include specific sessions on nanotechnology.

The scope of this project is to study the use of “nano-” terminology in chemistry, analyzing its evolution with time, by country, and its penetration among various chemical disciplines. The aim of this project is not to make any formal definition or recommendation of the use of “nano-” in chemistry, but first to determine what is the current situation regarding the use of “nano-” in chemistry terminology through a detailed analysis of peer-reviewed papers, patents, and books. This project will deliver a guideline for IUPAC to assess the use of “nano-” in chemistry as a first step in proposing recommendations and suggested terminology.

The methodology proposed is the following. First, we will use widely available and popular chemistry search engines, such as Sci Finder, and others provided by the CAS and RSC. The hits on “nano*” will be analyzed according to criteria, such as time, country, and source. Secondly, we will repeat the process by restricting the search to some of the most highly cited journals of each chemistry discipline, to learn if “nano-” terminology has impacted all the areas of chemistry and if so, to what extent and at what rate.


May 2008 – project announcement published in Chem. Int. 30(3) 2008

July 2008 – a report titled ‘The Impact of Nanotechnology on Chemistry’ has been compiled by Javier Garcia, Martin Meyer, Alan Porter, Ismael Rafols, and Jae Hwan Park. [pdf file – 640KB]

Sept 2011 – project completed – a report is made here available [pdf file – 608KB]; a summary is published in Chem. Int. Sep-Nov 2012, p. 16.

Also of relevance, see project 2012-001-1-400 ‘Terminology of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology in Polymer Science’