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Shaping nanomaterials

Construction of nanoscale devices is a crucial step toward the sucess of nanotechnologies in a variety of fields. Although construction by addition of individual building blocks might appear impossible without using nanomachines, it can actually be carried out by simply exploiting the different magnitude of attractive and repulsive interaction forces at the nanoscale. For example, gravity is negligible for nanoparticles, but other forces become dominant and require the nanoparticles to be coated with selected molecules. Thus, one can simply let the solvent evaporate and wait the nanoparticles to organize into ordered structures without any intervention. Such strategy is one of the core of the concept of self-assembly.