Nerve cells (neurons) have been used for a convenient and effective model for basic neurobiology and it has also served as a test bed for the development of neural prosthetic devices. The characterization of neuronal growth in vitro has become an important part of neural tissue engineering. In this talk, I will present recent progresses on the investigation of nano-scale effects on neuronal growth in vitro. Hippocampal neurons from a small brain tissue dissected from E-18 (embryonic stage 18 days) Sprague-Dawley rat were used as a developing neuron model. They were seeded on substrates with carbon nanotube patterned glass substrates, anodized aluminum oxide surfaces with two different pitch sizes (60 nm, 400 nm), and silica nano bead surfaces with five different bead sizes (110, 190, 320, 480, 670 nm). These surfaces uniquely defined nano-scale surfaces with different topographical features. We observed longer neurite outgrowth and faster neuronal development on nano-scale surfaces compared to plain glass surfaces. The results from nano-scale cell culture platforms will be useful to understand nano-environments of the brain during the early neural developments. In addition, the promoted neuronal development could be further applied for neural tissue scaffolds or implantable neural interface systems.