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A combining form with the meaning "very small, minute," used in the formation of Compound words (nanogram); in the names of units of measure, it has the specific sense one billionth (10 -9), i.e. nanometer.


Abbrev nm; one billionth of a meter (10-9), or 0.001 microns; in relative terms, a human hair is generally 50,000-100,000 nanometers in diameter. See our helpful chart on size, weight and Concentration at the nanoscale.


Although no standard definition is yet universally adopted, generally a microscopic particle having at least one dimension less than 100 nm. In nanotechnology, a particle is defined as a small object which behaves as a whole unit with respect to its transport and properties. Particles are further classified according to diameter. It is important to understand that diameter size may or may not affect intensive properties. A man-made scale of 1nm to 100nm does not create a meaningful range if there is no change in properties or behavior. A 100nm-sized particle may have the same properties as a 1,000nm-sized particle. A 101nm-sized particle may have exactly the same transport characteristics and properties as it has at 80nm. In general, when considering objects at or smaller than 100nm, the smaller a particle, the greater the probability there will be a change in properties. In 'interface science' or colloidal chemistry, the scientific literature generally addresses particulates ranging in physical size from 1nm to 1,000nm as nanomaterials. See also Particle.


The science of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale especially to build microscopic devices (Merriam Webster, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014); the definition is still undergoing widespread efforts to be defined, with the rapid development of science and understanding at the molecular and sub-molecular level.

New Dietary Ingredients (NDI)

A new dietary ingredient, as defined by the FDA in effort to regulate new supplements, is a dietary ingredient that was not sold in the United States in the form of a dietary supplement before October 15, 1994 (pre-DSHEA). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires specific safety information from a manufacturer intending to market a dietary supplement containing a new dietary ingredient. This information is not required for older dietary supplement ingredients. [Learn more: http://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/ucm109764.htm]

NOAEL (No-Observed Adverse Effect Level)

The highest exposure level at which there are no biologically significant increases in the frequency or severity of adverse effect between the exposed population and its appropriate control; some effects may be produced at this level, but they are not considered adverse or precursors of adverse effects.