Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The sounds of nanotechnology

Public perceptions of nanotechnology are shaped by sound in surprising ways. Our analysis of the audiovisual techniques employed by nanotechnology stakeholders shows that well-chosen sounds can help to win public trust, create value and convey the weird reality of objects on the nanoscale.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: A typology of nano-sounds.


  1. 1

    Reuvenkamp, M. & Rip, A. Nanoethics 5, 185–193 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Toumey, C. Nat. Nanotech. 5, 3–4 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Wickson, F. Nat. Nanotech. 3, 313–315 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Doane, M. Yale Fr. Stud. 60, 33–50 (1980).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Jones, S. Crit. Stud. Mass Comm. 10, 238–252 (1993).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Lakoff, G. & Núñez, R. E. Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being (Basic Books, 2000).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Varela, F. J., Thompson, E. T. & Rosch, E. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (MIT Press, 1991).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Lingle, S. & Riede, T. Am. Nat. 184, 510–522 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Inagaki, T., Li, Y. & Nishi, Y. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 12, 1933–1944 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Abbasi, M., Mohammad, R. M., Zakerian, S. A. & Yousefzadeh, A. Fluct. Noise Lett. 14, 1550020 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Green, J. E. & Dunn, F. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 44, 1456–1457 (1968).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Packard, V. The Hidden Persuaders (David McKay, 1957).

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Yorkston, E. & Menon, G. J. Consum. Res. 31, 43–51 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Anderson, R. C. & Klofstad, C. A. PLoS ONE 7, e51216 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Beckerman, J. & Gray, T. The Sonic Boom: How Sound Changes the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Chion, M. Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (Columbia Univ. Press, 1990).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank E. Culloty and S. Hughes for assistance in compiling the database.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Norah Campbell.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information

Supplementary Table 1 (XLSX 63 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Campbell, N., Deane, C. & Murphy, P. The sounds of nanotechnology. Nature Nanotech 12, 606–610 (2017).

Download citation


Quick links

Find nanotechnology articles, nanomaterial data and patents all in one place. Visit Nano by Nature Research