Today's medical and consumer markets are flooded with products touting the benefits of nanoparticles. There are countless products that claim to contain nanoparticles, nanotechnology, or nano-anything to try to ride this wave of interest. (Thanks to the efforts at The Wilson Center and Virginia Tech, a Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory exists to allow the consumer to research products.) Just what are nanoparticles, what is nanotechnology, and how can you tell what benefits are real and which are just marketing tricks? We'll deal with the first questions today, and in our next post help you understand product claims.