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Diffusion: exploring and working the nanoscale

Nikolaus Nestle,
BASF AG Ludwigshafen


While diffusion is an intrinsically slow effect at macroscopic time- and
length scales, it becomes more and more important when approaching the
micro- and nanoscale. In this world of small Péclet and Reynolds numbers
where most biological processes have been working as long as life has been
around. Also many important properties of natural or technical materials
are strongly influenced by diffusion properties on short length scales.
Within the last 60 years, microsystems engineering and nanotechnology have
opened up a whole range of novel opportunities for systematic
manipulations at such length scales and additional experimental tools have
become available to study structural and dynamical features in the sub-µm
range and below. Direct experimental studies of self-diffusion effects
have become feasible by means of field-gradient NMR techniques. In the
presentation, first a holistic overview on diffusion at different length
scales is given and well-known and then novel interactions between NMR
excitation and molecular diffusion in nanostructured media are discussed.