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It has been known for centuries that 'particle size' can very strongly affect chemical reactions.
At 'normal' scales, it's generally the case that the smaller the size of reactant particles, the faster the reaction progresses. This is often simply the result of increased surface area.
In recent years however, the possibility of creating nano-scale particles has shown that they often have radically different reactive properties. (see example)
A lack of understanding of the exact atomic processes involved means that it's very hard - or sometimes impossible - to accurately predict how chemicals will react with each other when the particle sizes are at nanoscale.
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