Zoom Into Nano



Exhibit Descriptions

Download the Exhibit Descriptions in Portable Document Format (PDF)

Zoom Into Nano is arranged into four sub-theme areas:

1. Small, Smaller, Nano

Get oriented to three size scales in this exhibit cluster:

  • small (greater than 100 micrometers)
  • smaller (1 to 100 micrometers)
  • nano (less than 100 nanometers)

There are 1,000,000,000 (one billion) nanometers in a meter!

Entry Panels

Watch a video introducing key exhibition concepts. Two additional panels without audiovisuals are provided for use in lobbies or at other entries.

Magnification Station

View three different magnifications of familiar objects (such as a butterfly wing, oyster shell and salt crystal) to see that all matter is made of atoms.

Zoom into Nano

Turn a wheel to zoom in and out from the macroscopic world to the nanoscopic world and back again. Go at your own speed to explore these fascinating objects (four stations):

  • butterfly wing
  • oyster shell
  • computer chip
  • dragonfly wing

Particle Progression

Use your senses to lead you on a nano journey from

  • small (sand)


  • smaller (dust)


  • nano (smell)

Discover that molecules are too small to see but not too small to smell.

2. Making Nano Structures

Try two different ways to make very, very tiny structures and devices: move lots of atoms at once (Shrink a Pattern), or move atoms one-by-one (Atom Transporter).

Shrink a Pattern

Design patterns of translucent colored discs. The light and lenses will shrink the pattern to make it many times smaller.

Atom Transporter

Arrange individual atoms into a pattern while the atoms are in motion. Are you up to the challenge?

3. Seeing Nano Structures

Models of atoms and molecules are enlarged to 100 million times their actual size within this courtyard of exhibits. View, build, and stretch molecules while exploring their shape and structure. Experience the constant motion of atoms and molecules.

Shaking Solids

See that atoms and molecules are always moving — even in solid objects.

Infinity Crystal

Immerse yourself in a crystal's repeating pattern of atoms that seem to go on forever.

Carbon Nanotubes

Feel the atoms as you move among the carbon nanotubes. Learn about their potential uses.

Stretch a Molecule

Use your hands to grab and pull apart the ends of a virtual RNA molecule. When you let go, the molecule folds back up into its favorite shape. (Full Body Interactive Video Installation)

Dissolve a Crystal

Dissolve a virtual crystal of salt using your body's movement to generate "heat." (Full Body Interactive Video Installation)

Build a Molecule

Have fun creating your own molecular models against a background of compelling imagery showing the beauty and complexity of the molecular world. (Includes banners and moving video projection.)

Build a Carbon Nanotube

How high can you go? Work in a group to build up gigantic carbon nanotube models.

Banners and Video Projections

Enhance and expand vertical spaces with eight 3'x8' double-sided banners, and optional video projection of up to 9'x12'.

4. Nano and Me

Learn about some highlights of the implications of current and future developments in nanoscale science and engineering.

Portages into Nanotechnology

Learn how scientists are using nanotechnology to develop new tools and materials that may affect our lives. (4 video kiosks)

Listen to a Nano Story

Sit back and listen to stories about nanotechnology from the popular Earth and Sky radio series. (2 coffee table stations surrounded by benches; flexible layout.)