Currently, most graphene-based innovations are not yet at the level of large-scale commercial production. But public and private investments into graphene and its applications in products are large and whichever production methods eventually turn out to be successful, exposure to humans or the environment somewhere along the value chain or life-cycle of the material or product should be anticipated timely. A new review paper offers suggestions on how potential nanospecific safety issues can be addressed, by who and at what stage of the innovation process.
The optical manipulation of plasmonic nanoparticles has advantages for applications such as nanofabrication, drug delivery and biosensing. To that end, researchers have been developing techniques for the reversible assembly of plasmonic nanoparticles that can be used to modulate their structural, electrical and optical properties. The latest such technique is a low-power assembly that is enabled by thermophoretic migration of nanoparticles due to the plasmon-enhanced photothermal effect and the associated enhanced local electric field over a plasmonic substrate.
In the fields of toxicology and ecotoxicology, doses are commonly expressed in weight concentration for non-soluble compounds because this is very convenient experimentally. However, when it comes to nanoparticles, the weight of the nanomaterial is not a relevant parameter, especially when it is required to compare different kinds of nanoparticles because their density is very different. Researchers have now shown that the usual approach based on mass concentrations fails to compare the toxicities of different engineered carbon nanoparticles.
Novel materials designed and fabricated with the help of nanotechnologies offer the promise of radical technological development. Many of these will improve our quality of life, and develop our economies, but all will be measured against the overarching principle that we do not make some error, and harm ourselves and our environment by exposure to new forms of hazard. A publication explores recent developments in nanomaterials research, and possibilities for safe, practical and resource-efficient applications.
Meeting the need for a reliable, sensitive, and accurate methodology for the detection of nanoparticles in complex samples, using low-cost and portable instrumentation, scientists have developed a novel methodology to quickly screen for the presence and reactivity of nanoparticles in commercial, environmental, and biological samples. A colorimetric assay - similar to a swimming pool test kit - tests for the presence or absence of nanoparticles in biological and environmental relevant samples with sufficient sensitivity at part per billion concentration levels.
Insurance companies are major stakeholders capable of contributing to the safer and more sustainable development of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. This is owed to the fact that the insurance industry is one of the bearers of potential losses that can arise from the production and use of nanomaterials and nanotechnology applications. Researchers have examined how the insurance market perception of nanotechnology can influence the sustainability of technological advances and insurers? concern for nanotechnology risks. They claim that, despite its role in sustaining technology development in modern society, insurers' perception on nanomaterials has been largely overlooked by researchers and regulators alike.
Numerous nanotoxicological studies reporting effects of nanomaterials typically address a single exposure at high dosages that are irrelevant to realistic human exposure. Recognizing that acute in vitro work had extremely low correlation to in vivo nanomaterial studies, coupled with the recognition that the unique characteristics that distinguish nanomaterials vary as a function of time, researchers sought to identify a model that would allow for the evaluation of nanomaterial behavior over a 3-month period, but be carried out in an in vitro model.
The investigation of effects of engineered nanomaterials on endothelial cells - which form the inner lining of blood vessels - is a critical safety issue. Already, various engineered nanomaterials are being designed for biomedical applications for intravascular use and other nanomaterials may reach the vasculature as a result of occupational, environmental, or other types of exposure. Researchers have now elucidated the mechanism of cytotoxicity of carboxylated MWCNTs on cultured endothelial cells and they show a new potential way of pharmacological cytoprotection against cytotoxic effect of carboxylated MWCNTs.