SeeingNano: Developing visualization tools that enable Nanotechnology awareness, with guidance for seeing at the Nano scale.

Funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union. SeeingNano Grant Agreement no: 646141


How do you visualize a technology that is so small, you cannot see it? A single strand of hair is 80,000-100,000 nanometres wide, and it would take one thousand of the thickest nanomaterials (100 nanometres) to match this width. It is unsurprising then that understanding the principles of nanotechnology can be difficult.

SeeingNano, a Horizon 2020 Framework Programme project, took on this challenge through unique visualization tools that allow you to ‘see at the nanoscale’. The materials provide an understanding and awareness for the breadth of nanotechnologies, and the benefits, uncertainties and potential risks connected to them.


The SeeingNano tools concentrate on communicating nanotechnologies to a few selected target audiences:

· Youngsters (aged 12-16)

· Non-scientific journalists

· Science teachers

· Adult museum visitors (aged 25 -55)

· Retirees


Three families of tools are under development in SeeingNano.

Mobile App

An application for both iPhone and Android users shows how nanotechnology is used in several applications including car engines. Users are able to slowly move closer and closer to the surface of an engine piston until they are ‘seeing at the nanoscale’.

Markers for the SeeingNano app can be downloaded here.

Short Movie

This fun animation gives a snapshot of what nanotechnologies are and where they can be found.


Group Activities

Exciting quizzes and group activities allow friends to work together to discover nanotechnology and explore their views on its use.

- NanoMemory. Download.

- NanoOrigami. Download.

- NanoProfiler. Download.

Concepts covered

SeeingNano’s experts have identified three key concepts for our audiences to learn through the tools. Equipped with this knowledge, users can understand the foundations of nanotechnology.

Surfaces and surface phenomena: as a material shrinks to nano-size, the ratio of its surface area to volume dramatically increases. Therefore, when nanomaterials are combined the properties of the surface become dominant.

Emergent and divergent phenomena: once a substance passes the 100 nanometre threshold and becomes a nanomaterial, quantum phenomena become important and new functionalities are observed which are size- dependent.

Self-organisation processes: nanomaterials, as a result of unique interactions between particles that are only possible at nanoscale, are able to form cohesive structures that can often survive and self-repair after damage.

SeeingNano Consortium

Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA)

Tomato Ltd

Association Européenne des Expositions Scientifiques, Techniques et Industrielles (AEESTI/Ecsite)

Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR)

Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (ZSI)

PlayGen Ltd

Studio HB

University of Leeds

De Proeffabriek (DPF)


Find more about SeeingNano online