Innovative Nanomaterial Properties and Applications in Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, or Environment

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanocomposite Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 15393

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Chemistry and Biology Department, Faculty of Sciences, Technical University, 430122 Baia Mare, Romania
Interests: nanomaterials; magnetic nanocomposites; sol-gel synthesis; ferrite preparations and characterization techniques; food thermal behavior; flavor analysis; volatile profile; applications
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The development of novel nanomaterials is opening up new opportunities in diverse fields of material science, condensed matter physics, and chemistry. The numerous advantages and challenges in the control and design of nanomaterials with specific properties (morphology, size, porosity, photocatalytic, chemical activity, mechanical, magnetic properties) represent fascinating research topics. Special emphasis will be placed on contributions with an interdisciplinary character, merging diverse expertise from physics, chemistry, biomedicine, and materials science engineering fields, while aiming at an optimized material performance at the nanoscale.

In this Special Issue, original theoretical and experimental research articles, communications, and reviews are welcome. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, or nanofibers;
  • Nanostructures (graphene, zeolites, membrane, etc.), coatings, and thin films;
  • Strong correlation between chemical composition, morphology, surface, and magnetic properties of nanostructured materials;
  • The thermal behavior of ceramic pigments with applications in glazes;
  • Nanomaterials for application in photocatalysis or electrocatalysis;
  • Nanomaterials for water purification through innovative techniques;
  • Adsorption of organic and inorganic pollutants;
  • Biosensing and biomedical applications.

Dr. Thomas Dippong 
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • nanostructured materials
  • graphene-based composites
  • nanomaterials synthesis
  • thermal behavior
  • hybrid magnetic materials
  • pigments used in glazes
  • photocatalysis
  • water and wastewater treatment
  • biomedical applications
  • smart nanostructures and nanodevices for virus detection

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Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

5 pages, 210 KiB  
Editorial
Innovative Nanomaterial Properties and Applications in Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, or Environment
Nanomaterials 2024, 14(2), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano14020145 - 09 Jan 2024
Viewed by 506
Abstract
Developing innovative nanomaterials unlocks new opportunities in physics, chemistry, medicine, and environmental protection [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

17 pages, 4309 KiB  
Article
Effects of Lanthanum Substitution and Annealing on Structural, Morphologic, and Photocatalytic Properties of Nickel Ferrite
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(24), 3096; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13243096 - 07 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 658
Abstract
Nanoparticles of NiLaxFe2−xO4 ferrite spinel incorporated in a SiO2 matrix were synthesized via a sol-gel method, followed by annealing at 200, 500, and 800 °C. The resulting materials were characterized via XRD, AFM, and BET techniques and [...] Read more.
Nanoparticles of NiLaxFe2−xO4 ferrite spinel incorporated in a SiO2 matrix were synthesized via a sol-gel method, followed by annealing at 200, 500, and 800 °C. The resulting materials were characterized via XRD, AFM, and BET techniques and evaluated for photocatalytic activity. The XRD diffractograms validate the formation of a single-phase cubic spinel structure at all temperatures, without any evidence of secondary peaks. The size of crystallites exhibited a decrease from 37 to 26 nm with the substitution of Fe3+ with La3+ ions. The lattice parameters and crystallite sizes were found to increase with the rise in La3+ content and annealing temperature. Isotherms were employed to calculate the rate constants for the decomposition of malonate precursors to ferrites and the activation energy for each ferrite. All nanocomposites have pores within the mesoporous range, with a narrow dispersion of pore sizes. The impact of La content on sonophotocatalytic activity was evaluated by studying Rhodamine B degradation under visible light irradiation. The results indicate that the introduction of La enhances nanocomposite performance. The prepared Ni-La ferrites may have potential application for water decontamination. Full article
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18 pages, 3986 KiB  
Article
Identification and In Silico Characterization of a Conserved Peptide on Influenza Hemagglutinin Protein: A New Potential Antigen for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(20), 2796; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13202796 - 20 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Antigenic changes in surface proteins of the influenza virus may cause the emergence of new variants that necessitate the reformulation of influenza vaccines every year. Universal influenza vaccine that relies on conserved regions can potentially be effective against all strains regardless of any [...] Read more.
Antigenic changes in surface proteins of the influenza virus may cause the emergence of new variants that necessitate the reformulation of influenza vaccines every year. Universal influenza vaccine that relies on conserved regions can potentially be effective against all strains regardless of any antigenic changes and as a result, it can bring enormous public health impact and economic benefit worldwide. Here, a conserved peptide (HA288–107) on the stalk domain of hemagglutinin glycoprotein is identified among highly pathogenic influenza viruses. Five top-ranked B-cell and twelve T-cell epitopes were recognized by epitope mapping approaches and the corresponding Human Leukocyte Antigen alleles to T-cell epitopes showed high population coverage (>99%) worldwide. Moreover, molecular docking analysis indicated that VLMENERTL and WTYNAELLV epitopes have high binding affinity to the antigen-binding groove of the HLA-A*02:01 and HLA-A*68:02 molecules, respectively. Theoretical physicochemical properties of the peptide were assessed to ensure its thermostability and hydrophilicity. The results suggest that the HA288–107 peptide can be a promising antigen for universal influenza vaccine design. However, in vitro and in vivo analyses are needed to support and evaluate the effectiveness of the peptide as an immunogen for vaccine development. Full article
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10 pages, 3683 KiB  
Article
Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) Investigation of a 3D Plasmonic Architecture Utilizing Ag Nanoparticles-Embedded Functionalized Carbon Nanowall
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(19), 2617; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13192617 - 22 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 874
Abstract
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a highly sensitive technique for detecting DNA, proteins, and single molecules. The design of SERS substrates plays a crucial role, with the density of hotspots being a key factor in enhancing Raman spectra. In this study, we employed [...] Read more.
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a highly sensitive technique for detecting DNA, proteins, and single molecules. The design of SERS substrates plays a crucial role, with the density of hotspots being a key factor in enhancing Raman spectra. In this study, we employed carbon nanowall (CNW) as the nanostructure and embedded plasmonic nanoparticles (PNPs) to increase hotspot density, resulting in robust Raman signals. To enhance the CNW’s performance, we functionalized it via oxygen plasma and embedded silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs). The authors evaluated the substrate using rhodamine 6G (R6G) as a model target molecule, ranging in concentration from 10−6 M to 10−10 M for a 4 min exposure. Our analysis confirmed a proportional increase in Raman signal intensity with an increase in concentration. The CNW’s large specific surface area and graphene domains provide dense hotspots and high charge mobility, respectively, contributing to both the electromagnetic mechanism (EM) and the chemical mechanism (CM) of SERS. Full article
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13 pages, 2978 KiB  
Article
Scanning Photocurrent Microscopy in Single Crystal Multidimensional Hybrid Lead Bromide Perovskites
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(18), 2570; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13182570 - 16 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 798
Abstract
We investigated solution-grown single crystals of multidimensional 2D–3D hybrid lead bromide perovskites using spatially resolved photocurrent and photoluminescence. Scanning photocurrent microscopy (SPCM) measurements where the electrodes consisted of a dip probe contact and a back contact. The crystals revealed significant differences between 3D [...] Read more.
We investigated solution-grown single crystals of multidimensional 2D–3D hybrid lead bromide perovskites using spatially resolved photocurrent and photoluminescence. Scanning photocurrent microscopy (SPCM) measurements where the electrodes consisted of a dip probe contact and a back contact. The crystals revealed significant differences between 3D and multidimensional 2D–3D perovskites under biased detection, not only in terms of photocarrier decay length values but also in the spatial dynamics across the crystal. In general, the photocurrent maps indicate that the closer the border proximity, the shorter the effective decay length, thus suggesting a determinant role of the border recombination centers in monocrystalline samples. In this case, multidimensional 2D–3D perovskites exhibited a simple fitting model consisting of a single exponential, while 3D perovskites demonstrated two distinct charge carrier migration dynamics within the crystal: fast and slow. Although the first one matches that of the 2D–3D perovskite, the long decay of the 3D sample exhibits a value two orders of magnitude larger. This difference could be attributed to the presence of interlayer screening and a larger exciton binding energy of the multidimensional 2D–3D perovskites with respect to their 3D counterparts. Full article
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19 pages, 3230 KiB  
Article
A Strategy for Tuning the Structure, Morphology, and Magnetic Properties of MnFe2O4/SiO2 Ceramic Nanocomposites via Mono-, Di-, and Trivalent Metal Ion Doping and Annealing
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(14), 2129; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13142129 - 22 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 852
Abstract
This work presents the effect of monovalent (Ag+, Na+), divalent (Ca2+, Cd2+), and trivalent (La3+) metal ion doping and annealing temperature (500, 800, and 1200 °C) on the structure, morphology, and magnetic properties [...] Read more.
This work presents the effect of monovalent (Ag+, Na+), divalent (Ca2+, Cd2+), and trivalent (La3+) metal ion doping and annealing temperature (500, 800, and 1200 °C) on the structure, morphology, and magnetic properties of MnFe2O4/SiO2 ceramic nanocomposites synthesized via sol–gel method. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy confirms the embedding of undoped and doped MnFe2O4 nanoparticles in the SiO2 matrix at all annealing temperatures. In all cases, the X-ray diffraction (XRD) confirms the formation of MnFe2O4. In the case of undoped, di-, and trivalent metal-ion-doped gels annealed at 1200 °C, three crystalline phases (cristobalite, quartz, and tridymite) belonging to the SiO2 matrix are observed. Doping with mono- and trivalent ions enhances the nanocomposite’s structure by forming single-phase MnFe2O4 at low annealing temperatures (500 and 800 °C), while doping with divalent ions and high annealing temperature (1200 °C) results in additional crystalline phases. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) reveals spherical ferrite particles coated by an amorphous layer. The AFM images showed spherical particles formed due to the thermal treatment. The structural parameters calculated by XRD (crystallite size, crystallinity, lattice constant, unit cell volume, hopping length, density, and porosity) and AFM (particle size, powder surface area, and thickness of coating layer), as well as the magnetic parameters (saturation magnetization, remanent magnetization, coercivity, and anisotropy constant), are contingent on the doping ion and annealing temperature. By doping, the saturation magnetization and magnetocrystalline anisotropy decrease for gels annealed at 800 °C, but increase for gels annealed at 1200 °C, while the remanent magnetization and coercivity decrease by doping at both annealing temperatures (800 and 1200 °C). Full article
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11 pages, 9292 KiB  
Article
The Adsorption Effect of Methane Gas Molecules on Monolayer PbSe with and without Vacancy Defects: A First-Principles Study
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(9), 1566; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13091566 - 06 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1206
Abstract
In this paper, the adsorption effect of methane (CH4) gas molecular on monolayer PbSe with and without vacancy defects is studied based on first-principles calculations. The effects of the adsorption of methane molecular on monolayer PbSe and on the Se vacancy [...] Read more.
In this paper, the adsorption effect of methane (CH4) gas molecular on monolayer PbSe with and without vacancy defects is studied based on first-principles calculations. The effects of the adsorption of methane molecular on monolayer PbSe and on the Se vacancy (VSe) and Pb vacancy (VPb) of monolayer PbSe are also explored. Our results show that methane molecules exhibit a good physical adsorption effect on monolayer PbSe with and without vacancy defects. Moreover, our simulations indicate that the adsorption capacity of CH4 molecules on monolayer PbSe can be enhanced by applying strain. However, for the monolayer PbSe with Vse, the adsorption capacity of CH4 molecules on the strained system decreases sharply. This indicates that applying strain can promote the dissociation of CH4 from VSe. Our results show that the strain can be used as an effective means to regulate the interaction between the substrate material and the methane gas molecules. Full article
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18 pages, 4631 KiB  
Article
Magnetic Properties and Magnetocaloric Effect of Polycrystalline and Nano-Manganites Pr0.65Sr(0.35−x)CaxMnO3 (x ≤ 0.3)
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(8), 1373; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13081373 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1190
Abstract
Here we report investigations of bulk and nano-sized Pr0.65Sr(0.35−x)CaxMnO3 compounds (x ≤ 0.3). Solid-state reaction was implemented for polycrystalline compounds and a modified sol–gel method was used for nanocrystalline compounds. X-ray diffraction disclosed diminishing cell volume [...] Read more.
Here we report investigations of bulk and nano-sized Pr0.65Sr(0.35−x)CaxMnO3 compounds (x ≤ 0.3). Solid-state reaction was implemented for polycrystalline compounds and a modified sol–gel method was used for nanocrystalline compounds. X-ray diffraction disclosed diminishing cell volume with increasing Ca substitution in Pbnm space group for all samples. Optical microscopy was used for bulk surface morphology and transmission electron microscopy was utilized for nano-sized samples. Iodometric titration showed oxygen deficiency for bulk compounds and oxygen excess for nano-sized particles. Measurements of resistivity of bulk samples revealed features at temperatures associated with grain boundary condition and with ferromagnetic (FM)/paramagnetic (PM) transition. All samples exhibited negative magnetoresistivity. Magnetic critical behavior analysis suggested the polycrystalline samples are governed by a tricritical mean field model while nanocrystalline samples are governed by a mean field model. Curie temperatures values lower with increasing Ca substitution from 295 K for the parent compound to 201 K for x = 0.2. Bulk compounds exhibit high entropy change, with the highest value of 9.21 J/kgK for x = 0.2. Magnetocaloric effect and the possibility of tuning the Curie temperature by Ca substitution of Sr make the investigated bulk polycrystalline compounds promising for application in magnetic refrigeration. Nano-sized samples possess wider effective entropy change temperature (ΔTfwhm) and lower entropy changes of around 4 J/kgK which, however, puts in doubt their straightforward potential for applications as magnetocaloric materials. Full article
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14 pages, 27961 KiB  
Article
Facile Fabrication of Highly Active CeO2@ZnO Nanoheterojunction Photocatalysts
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(8), 1371; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13081371 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1288
Abstract
Photocatalyst performance is often limited by the poor separation and rapid recombination of photoinduced charge carriers. A nanoheterojunction structure can facilitate the separation of charge carrier, increase their lifetime, and induce photocatalytic activity. In this study, CeO2@ZnO nanocomposites were produced by [...] Read more.
Photocatalyst performance is often limited by the poor separation and rapid recombination of photoinduced charge carriers. A nanoheterojunction structure can facilitate the separation of charge carrier, increase their lifetime, and induce photocatalytic activity. In this study, CeO2@ZnO nanocomposites were produced by pyrolyzing Ce@Zn metal–organic frameworks prepared from cerium and zinc nitrate precursors. The effects of the Zn:Ce ratio on the microstructure, morphology, and optical properties of the nanocomposites were studied. In addition, the photocatalytic activity of the nanocomposites under light irradiation was assessed using rhodamine B as a model pollutant, and a mechanism for photodegradation was proposed. With the increase in the Zn:Ce ratio, the particle size decreased, and surface area increased. Furthermore, transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses revealed the formation of a heterojunction interface, which enhanced photocarrier separation. The prepared photocatalysts show a higher photocatalytic activity than CeO2@ZnO nanocomposites previously reported in the literature. The proposed synthetic method is simple and may produce highly active photocatalysts for environmental remediation. Full article
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33 pages, 8531 KiB  
Article
Effect of Doping TiO2 NPs with Lanthanides (La, Ce and Eu) on the Adsorption and Photodegradation of Cyanide—A Comparative Study
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(6), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13061068 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1317
Abstract
Free cyanide is a highly dangerous compound for health and the environment, so treatment of cyanide-contaminated water is extremely important. In the present study, TiO2, La/TiO2, Ce/TiO2, and Eu/TiO2 nanoparticles were synthesized to assess their ability [...] Read more.
Free cyanide is a highly dangerous compound for health and the environment, so treatment of cyanide-contaminated water is extremely important. In the present study, TiO2, La/TiO2, Ce/TiO2, and Eu/TiO2 nanoparticles were synthesized to assess their ability to remove free cyanide from aqueous solutions. Nanoparticles synthesized through the sol–gel method were characterized by X-ray powder diffractometry (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), and specific surface area (SSA). Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models were utilized to fit the adsorption equilibrium experimental data, and pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order, and intraparticle diffusion models were used to fit the adsorption kinetics experimental data. Cyanide photodegradation and the effect of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on the photocatalytic process were investigated under simulated solar light. Finally, reuse of the nanoparticles in five consecutive treatment cycles was determined. The results showed that La/TiO2 has the highest percentage of cyanide removal (98%), followed by Ce/TiO2 (92%), Eu/TiO2 (90%), and TiO2 (88%). From these results, it is suggested that La, Ce, and Eu dopants can improve the properties of TiO2 as well as its ability to remove cyanide species from aqueous solutions. Full article
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17 pages, 4736 KiB  
Article
Influence of SiO2 Embedding on the Structure, Morphology, Thermal, and Magnetic Properties of Co0.4Zn0.4Ni0.2Fe2O4 Particles
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(3), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13030527 - 28 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1141
Abstract
(Co0.4Zn0.4Ni0.2Fe2O4)α(SiO2)(100−α) samples obtained by embedding Co0.4Zn0.4Ni0.2Fe2O4 nanoparticles in SiO2 in various proportions were synthesized by sol-gel process and [...] Read more.
(Co0.4Zn0.4Ni0.2Fe2O4)α(SiO2)(100−α) samples obtained by embedding Co0.4Zn0.4Ni0.2Fe2O4 nanoparticles in SiO2 in various proportions were synthesized by sol-gel process and characterized using thermal analysis, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, and magnetic measurements. Poorly crystalline Co–Zn–Ni ferrite at low annealing temperatures (500 °C) and highly crystalline Co–Zn–Ni ferrite together with traces of crystalline Fe2SiO4 (800 °C) and SiO2 (tridymite and cristobalite) (1200 °C) were obtained. At 1200 °C, large spherical particles with size increasing with the ferrite content (36–120 nm) were obtained. Specific surface area increased with the SiO2 content and decreased with the annealing temperature above 500 °C. Magnetic properties were enhanced with the increase in ferrite content and annealing temperature. Full article
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15 pages, 59949 KiB  
Article
Time-Dependent Size and Shape Evolution of Gold and Europium Nanoparticles from a Bioproducing Microorganism, a Cyanobacterium: A Digitally Supported High-Resolution Image Analysis
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(1), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13010130 - 27 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1168
Abstract
Herein, the particle size distributions (PSDs) and shape analysis of in vivo bioproduced particles from aqueous Au3+ and Eu3+ solutions by the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. are examined in detail at the nanoscale. Generally, biosynthesis is affected by numerous parameters. Therefore, it [...] Read more.
Herein, the particle size distributions (PSDs) and shape analysis of in vivo bioproduced particles from aqueous Au3+ and Eu3+ solutions by the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. are examined in detail at the nanoscale. Generally, biosynthesis is affected by numerous parameters. Therefore, it is challenging to find the key set points for generating tailored nanoparticles (NPs). PSDs and shape analysis of the Au and Eu-NPs were performed with ImageJ using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) images. As the HR-TEM image analysis reflects only a fraction of the detected NPs within the cells, additional PSDs of the complete cell were performed to determine the NP count and to evaluate the different accuracies. Furthermore, local PSDs were carried out at five randomly selected locations within a single cell to identify local hotspots or agglomerations. The PSDs show that particle size depends mainly on contact time, while the particle shape is hardly affected. The particles formed are distributed quite evenly within the cells. HR-PSDs for Au-NPs show an average equivalent circular diameter (ECD) of 8.4 nm (24 h) and 7.2 nm (51 h). In contrast, Eu-NPs preferably exhibit an average ECD of 10.6 nm (10 h) and 12.3 nm (244 h). Au-NPs are classified predominantly as “very round” with an average reciprocal aspect ratio (RAR) of ~0.9 and a Feret major axis ratio (FMR) of ~1.17. Eu-NPs mainly belong to the “rounded” class with a smaller RAR of ~0.6 and a FMR of ~1.3. These results show that an increase in contact time is not accompanied by an average particle growth for Au-NPs, but by a doubling of the particle number. Anabaena sp. is capable of biosorbing and bioreducing dissolved Au3+ and Eu3+ ions from aqueous solutions, generating nano-sized Au and Eu particles, respectively. Therefore, it is a low-cost, non-toxic and effective candidate for a rapid recovery of these sought-after metals via the bioproduction of NPs with defined sizes and shapes, providing a high potential for scale-up. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

35 pages, 3946 KiB  
Review
Recent Breakthroughs in Using Quantum Dots for Cancer Imaging and Drug Delivery Purposes
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(18), 2566; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13182566 - 15 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1734
Abstract
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Because each person’s cancer may be unique, diagnosing and treating cancer is challenging. Advances in nanomedicine have made it possible to detect tumors and quickly investigate tumor cells at a cellular level in [...] Read more.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Because each person’s cancer may be unique, diagnosing and treating cancer is challenging. Advances in nanomedicine have made it possible to detect tumors and quickly investigate tumor cells at a cellular level in contrast to prior diagnostic techniques. Quantum dots (QDs) are functional nanoparticles reported to be useful for diagnosis. QDs are semiconducting tiny nanocrystals, 2–10 nm in diameter, with exceptional and useful optoelectronic properties that can be tailored to sensitively report on their environment. This review highlights these exceptional semiconducting QDs and their properties and synthesis methods when used in cancer diagnostics. The conjugation of reporting or binding molecules to the QD surface is discussed. This review summarizes the most recent advances in using QDs for in vitro imaging, in vivo imaging, and targeted drug delivery platforms in cancer applications. Full article
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