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E. A Surprising Discovery Made on a Nanometer Scale

Narrator:This is Science Today. As scientists shrink materials down to the nanometer scale, they've found puzzling and intriguing behaviors that promise many unforeseen applications, especially in the semiconductor field. Benjamin Gilbert, a University of California, Berkeley physicist, describes his team's observation that nanoparticle structures respond to environmental changes.

Gilbert: We're looking at how these very small particles differ from things we see all around us, and if you drop a grain of sand in the sea, nothing really changes about the grain of sand. It's just in a new environment. The difference between these relatively large objects and these nanoparticles is that in some situations, you can drop them in different solution or a different environment and they can change structure inside and out. And that's really the unexpected and very interesting observation we've made with these small nanoparticles.

Narrator: Gilbert's team is currently looking at ways to control semiconductor structures. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.