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January 2nd, 2007

Our Top 20 stories from Earth to Pluto

During the year, consumers learned that nanoparticles are rapidly leaping from laboratory to store shelf, in products from cosmetics to fuel cells.

Nanoparticles are smaller than about one-one-hundredth of the width of a human hair and can be as small as one-twenty-five-millionth of an inch. Their smallness, which collectively allows for huge surface areas, is what makes them work so well. In addition, physics and chemistry are different on such a tiny scale, said Jim Lee, an Ohio State University scientist who is developing medical devices using the technology.

Nanoparticles are showing up in sunblock to stop ultraviolet light. They can kill bacteria and viruses, control chemical reactions or deliver drugs precisely in the body, Lee said.


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