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Legacy nanomaterials are those that were in commercial production prior to the development of nanotechnology as incremental advancements over other colloidal or particulate materials.

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Nanomaterials may be incidentally produced as a byproduct of mechanical or industrial processes. Sources of incidental nanoparticles include vehicle engine exhausts, welding fumes, combustion processes from domestic solid fuel heating and cooking. For instance, the class of nanomaterials called fullerenes are generated by burning gas, biomass , and candle.

Biological systems often feature natural, functional nanomaterials. The structure of foraminifera mainly chalk and viruses protein, capsid , the wax crystals covering a lotus or nasturtium leaf, spider and spider-mite silk, [17] the blue hue of tarantulas, [18] the "spatulae" on the bottom of gecko feet, some butterfly wing scales, natural colloids milk , blood , horny materials skin , claws , beaks , feathers , horns , hair , paper , cotton , nacre , corals , and even our own bone matrix are all natural organic nanomaterials.

Natural inorganic nanomaterials occur through crystal growth in the diverse chemical conditions of the Earth's crust.

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For example, clays display complex nanostructures due to anisotropy of their underlying crystal structure, and volcanic activity can give rise to opals , which are an instance of a naturally occurring photonic crystals due to their nanoscale structure. Fires represent particularly complex reactions and can produce pigments , cement , fumed silica etc.

Natural sources of nanoparticles include combustion products forest fires, volcanic ash, ocean spray, and the radioactive decay of radon gas.

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Natural nanomaterials can also be formed through weathering processes of metal- or anion-containing rocks, as well as at acid mine drainage sites. Brazilian Crystal Opal. Nano-objects are often categorized as to how many of their dimensions fall in the nanoscale. A nanoparticle is defined a nano-object with all three external dimensions in the nanoscale, whose longest and the shortest axes do not differ significantly.

A nanofiber has two external dimensions in the nanoscale, with nanotubes being hollow nanofibers and nanorods being solid nanofibers.

Nanocomposite Materials -2

A nanoplate has one external dimension in the nanoscale, and if the two larger dimensions are significantly different it is called a nanoribbon. For nanofibers and nanoplates, the other dimensions may or may not be in the nanoscale, but must be significantly larger. A significant different in all cases is noted to be typically at least a factor of 3.

Nanostructured materials are often categorized by what phases of matter they contain. A nanocomposite is a solid containing at least one physically or chemically distinct region, or collection of regions, having at least one dimension in the nanoscale.. A nanofoam has a liquid or solid matrix, filled with a gaseous phase, where one of the two phases has dimensions on the nanoscale. A nanoporous material is a solid material containing nanopores , cavities with dimensions on the nanoscale.

A nanocrystalline material has a significant fraction of crystal grains in the nanoscale. In other sources, nanoporous materials and nanofoam are sometimes considered nanostructures but not nanomaterials because only the voids and not the materials themselves are nanoscale. Nanoparticles have all three dimensions on the nanoscale. Nanoparticles can also be embedded in a bulk solid to form a nanocomposite. The fullerenes are a class of allotropes of carbon which conceptually are graphene sheets rolled into tubes or spheres. These include the carbon nanotubes or silicon nanotubes which are of interest both because of their mechanical strength and also because of their electrical properties.

The name was a homage to Buckminster Fuller , whose geodesic domes it resembles. Fullerenes have since been found to occur in nature.

Prospects of Nanostructure Materials and Their Composites as Antimicrobial Agents

For the past decade, the chemical and physical properties of fullerenes have been a hot topic in the field of research and development, and are likely to continue to be for a long time. In April , fullerenes were under study for potential medicinal use : binding specific antibiotics to the structure of resistant bacteria and even target certain types of cancer cells such as melanoma. The October issue of Chemistry and Biology contains an article describing the use of fullerenes as light-activated antimicrobial agents.

In the field of nanotechnology , heat resistance and superconductivity are among the properties attracting intense research. A common method used to produce fullerenes is to send a large current between two nearby graphite electrodes in an inert atmosphere. The resulting carbon plasma arc between the electrodes cools into sooty residue from which many fullerenes can be isolated. There are many calculations that have been done using ab-initio Quantum Methods applied to fullerenes.

Results of such calculations can be compared with experimental results. Inorganic nanomaterials, e. There are the possibilities to use those materials in organic material based optoelectronic devices such as Organic solar cells , OLEDs etc. The operating principles of such devices are governed by photoinduced processes like electron transfer and energy transfer. The performance of the devices depends on the efficiency of the photoinduced process responsible for their functioning. Nanoparticles or nanocrystals made of metals, semiconductors, or oxides are of particular interest for their mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical, chemical and other properties.

Recently, a range of nanoparticles are extensively investigated for biomedical applications including tissue engineering , drug delivery , biosensor. Nanoparticles are of great scientific interest as they are effectively a bridge between bulk materials and atomic or molecular structures. A bulk material should have constant physical properties regardless of its size, but at the nano-scale this is often not the case.


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Size-dependent properties are observed such as quantum confinement in semiconductor particles, surface plasmon resonance in some metal particles and superparamagnetism in magnetic materials. Nanoparticles exhibit a number of special properties relative to bulk material.


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For example, the bending of bulk copper wire, ribbon, etc. The change in properties is not always desirable. Suspensions of nanoparticles are possible because the interaction of the particle surface with the solvent is strong enough to overcome differences in density , which usually result in a material either sinking or floating in a liquid.

Nanoparticles often have unexpected visual properties because they are small enough to confine their electrons and produce quantum effects. For example, gold nanoparticles appear deep red to black in solution. The often very high surface area to volume ratio of nanoparticles provides a tremendous driving force for diffusion , especially at elevated temperatures. Sintering is possible at lower temperatures and over shorter durations than for larger particles.

This theoretically does not affect the density of the final product, though flow difficulties and the tendency of nanoparticles to agglomerate do complicate matters. The surface effects of nanoparticles also reduces the incipient melting temperature.

Two-Dimensional Nanomaterials

The smallest possible crystalline wires with cross-section as small as a single atom can be engineered in cylindrical confinement. Confinement provides mechanical stabilization and prevents linear atomic chains from disintegration; other structures of 1D nanowires are predicted to be mechanically stable even upon isolation from the templates. The most important representative graphene was discovered in Thin films with nanoscale thicknesses are considered nanostructures, but are sometimes not considered nanomaterials because they do not exist separately from the substrate.

Some bulk materials contain features on the nanoscale, including nanocomposites , nanocrystalline materials , nanostructured films , and nanotextured surfaces. Box-shaped graphene BSG nanostructure is an example of 3D nanomaterial. This nanostructure is a multilayer system of parallel hollow nanochannels located along the surface and having quadrangular cross-section.


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Nano materials are used in a variety of, manufacturing processes, products and healthcare including paints, filters, insulation and lubricant additives. In healthcare Nanozymes are nanomaterials with enzyme-like characteristics. In paints nanomaterials are used to improve UV protection and improve ease of cleaning.

In the air purification field, nano technology was used to combat the spread of MERS in Saudi Arabian hospitals in Worn and corroded parts can also be repaired with self-assembling anisotropic nanoparticles called TriboTEX. TWC converters have the advantage of controlling the emission of nitrogen oxides NOx , which are precursors to acid rain and smog. Accordingly, the synthetic method should exhibit control of size in this range so that one property or another can be attained.

Often the methods are divided into two main types, "bottom up" and "top down". Bottom up methods involve the assembly of atoms or molecules into nanostructured arrays. In these methods the raw material sources can be in the form of gases, liquids or solids. The latter require some sort of disassembly prior to their incorporation onto a nanostructure. Bottom up methods generally fall into two categories: chaotic and controlled. Chaotic processes involve elevating the constituent atoms or molecules to a chaotic state and then suddenly changing the conditions so as to make that state unstable.

Through the clever manipulation of any number of parameters, products form largely as a result of the insuring kinetics. The collapse from the chaotic state can be difficult or impossible to control and so ensemble statistics often govern the resulting size distribution and average size. Accordingly, nanoparticle formation is controlled through manipulation of the end state of the products.

here Examples of chaotic processes are laser ablation, exploding wire, arc, flame pyrolysis, combustion, and precipitation synthesis techniques. Controlled processes involve the controlled delivery of the constituent atoms or molecules to the site s of nanoparticle formation such that the nanoparticle can grow to a prescribed sizes in a controlled manner. Generally the state of the constituent atoms or molecules are never far from that needed for nanoparticle formation.

Accordingly, nanoparticle formation is controlled through the control of the state of the reactants.