Glossary of Terms
NanoparticleUltrafine particles between 1 and 100 nanometers in size. The size is similar to that of most biological molecules and structures. Nanoparticles can be engineered for a wide variety of biomedical uses including diagnostic devices, contrast agents, physical therapy applications, and drug delivery vehicles. A nanoparticle is approximately 1/10,000 the width of a human hair. Nanoparticles are generally 1000 times smaller than microparticles.
NanotechnologyThe manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. Research areas include surface science, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, and microfabrication. Applications are diverse and include device physics, molecular self-assembly, and precisely manipulating atoms and molecules.
Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS)A spectroscopic method that uses the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum for pharmaceutical and medical diagnostics, typically measurements of blood sugar and blood oxygen levels.
near-infrared lightwavelengths of light that are slightly larger than those visible to the human eye
Neural NetworksA machine learning approach modeled after the brain in which algorithms process signals via interconnected nodes called artificial neurons. Mimicking biological nervous systems, artificial neural networks have been used successfully to recognize and predict patterns of neural signals involved in brain function.
NeuroimagingIncludes the use of a number of techniques to image the structure and function of the brain, spinal cord, and associated structures.
NeuroprostheticsA broad discipline of neuroscience and biomedical engineering concerned with developing devices that can substitute a motor, sensory or cognitive function lost due to injury or disease. Examples encompass a wide range including cochlear implants, visual prosthetics, and brain-computer interfaces for conscious control of movement in paralyzed individuals.
Nuclear MedicineA medical specialty that uses radioactive tracers (radiopharmaceuticals) to assess bodily functions and to diagnose and treat disease. Diagnostic nuclear medicine relies heavily on imaging techniques that measure cellular function and physiology.