First, we thank Dr. H. S. Nalwa for his kind invitation to contribute to the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. It has been a great pleasure and honor for us to write this review.

The authors have greatly benefited from many professional scientists who produced the original research and development, which was included in this state-of-the-art review. Hundreds of researchers all over the world have answered our request to send their relevant reprints for this review. The relevant papers are quoted in appropriate sections and the authors gratefully acknowledge all of them for their kind cooperation.

For permission to reproduce the original illustrations from their publications, we thank especially Prof. S. A. Barnett (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL), Prof. Y.-W. Chung (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL), Prof. H. Gleiter (Institute for Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe, Germany), Dr. M. Gu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China),

Dr. P. E. Hovsepian (Sheffield Hallam University, UK), Prof. C. Mitterer (Montanuniversitat, Leoben, Austria), Dr. J. Patscheider (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, Duebendorf, Switzerland), Prof. C. Surya-narayana (University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL), Prof. S. Veprek (Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany), Dr. X. T. Zeng (Gintic Institute of Manufacturing Technology, Singapore), as well as the copyright holders: American Chemical Society (C. Arleen Countney), Washington, DC, American Institute of Physics (Mrs. Ann C. Perl-man), Melville, NY, Elsevier Science (Mrs. Frances Rothwell), Oxford, UK, Institute of Materials (Mr. Mark Hull), London, UK, Materials Research Society (Mr. Matt Ussia), Warrendale, PA, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH (Ms. Claudia Rutz), Weinheim, Germany.

The authors are grateful to Mrs. Mez Wilkinson (Library of Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia), Mrs. Fiona O'Donnell (Library of Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia), and Miss Stephanie Lavau (Library of Manufacturing Science and Technology Division of CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia) for inestimable information support.

Finally, the authors acknowledge Tina Burke for careful reading and correction of the manuscript.

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