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There have been immense activities and important advances in the field of nanomaterials since the first edition of the book was published. The focus of interest shifted to new topics and in particular to new materials with promising applications. New methods became available to prepare graphene in high quality and larger quantities. Excitement about this new carbon allotrope with its amazing electronic properties and expectations for its applicability in nanoelectronics have superseded to a large extent the earlier interest in carbon nanotubes, which are always mixtures of metallic and semiconducting tubes and difficult to obtain as pure product with well-defined properties. The fact that energy becomes increasingly a topic for chemists is also primarily due to increasing applications of nanomaterials in secondary batteries but in particular in third-generation solar cells based on dye-sensitized electron injection into nanoscopic TiO2 but also to materials for solar water splitting.

The rich variability of nanomaterials is not restricted to the chemical composition; rather, new methods of crystal shape engineering have allowed production of the same material in a controlled manner in vastly different shapes and corresponding shape-dependent properties such as colour or catalytic activity. The formation of these non-equilibrium morphologies rests on the ability to handle processes which lead to kinetically controlled products. To account for these important developments we have added a new chapter on Nucleation and Crystal Shape Engineering. In the same spirit, but directed more towards organic matter, there is a new chapter on Self-Assembly and Biomimetics. It illustrates the formation of ordered structures under equilibrium conditions, based on the principle of constant curvature. Mimicking synthetic processes in nature can produce beautiful microscale architectures from silica at room temperature. In the laboratory, sol–gel processes using self-assembled surfactant structures as moulds lead to similar mesoporous morphologies and find important applications as supports in catalysis. Other strategies are based on modular building blocks containing specific coupling elements which allow the synthesis of three-dimensional open framework structures, suitable for gas adsorption or separation, or as supports for catalytic applications.

These extensions of the first edition, which discuss the strategies for novel nanomaterials with tailored properties, are also reflected in the title of the book. I am very grateful to the publisher for the permission to use colour illustrations with no limitation, and I believe the new chapters have benefitted enormously from it. Colour makes the work more appealing and supports its didactical character as an advanced textbook. In this same sense, more new tutorial literature has been added for further reading. It is hoped that the new edition will be used even more extensively as introductory reading to help the understanding and support the teaching of courses in nanotechnology.

Emil RodunerPretoria

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