Nanomaterials deal with various studies involving materials having at least one spatial dimension between 1 and 100 nm. Recently, nanomaterial research has gained attention due to prospective applications such as a high increase in the surface area and new quantum effects in human life and the environment. Generally, it is accepted that nanomaterials can be produced by a top-down and bottom-up approach. Top-down involves the breakdown of large-sized material. Metallic and ceramic nanomaterials are the most known nanomaterials obtained in this way. Photolithography, anodization, and plasma etching are other examples of the top-down approach. Alternatively, a bottom-up approach is based on the assembling of atoms or molecules to get the desired nanomaterial. Although this technique is time-consuming, complex, and expensive it allows the production of a much more regular particle size and shape. Sol-gel process, gas-phase synthesis, flame-assisted ultrasonic spray pyrolysis, gas condensation processing, chemical vapor condensation, sputtered plasma processing, microwave plasma processing, and laser ablation are some of the examples of this approach. This technique is well applicable to fullerene and carbon nanotubes.
Applications of nanomaterials are growing continuously. The broad range of applications of nanomaterials can be categorized as-
- Cosmetic and personal care products
- Paints and coatings
- Household products
- Catalysts and lubricants
- Sport products
- Medical and health care products
- Food and nutritional ingredients
- Food packaging
- Veterinary medicines
- Construction materials
- Consumer electronics
Engineered nanomaterials have wider applications in biomedical and pharmaceutical fields due to their unique properties such as more reactive than the molecular analogs in solvents, very small size allows them to migrate easier in biological systems and ability to pass the biological membranes in the lung, gut, and even in the brain causing damage to intracellular structures and cellular functions. For brain glioma, nanoparticles made from iron oxide are an approved medical device that can be directly injected into the tumor tissue. Ceramics or polymeric particles reinforced with nanometre-scale carbon fibers are used for the manufacturing of bone substitutes and dental prosthetics. Inflammation after surgery can be reduced by using nanosilver within implants or on surfaces of catheters. Carbon nanotubes hold great potential in the field of nanobiotechnology as they can transport and translocate therapeutic drug molecules near the target tissue. Dendrimers are 3D, immensely branched nanoscopic macromolecules which have the ability to increase the therapeutic index of drug molecules.
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