Why are nanomaterials used?
Chemical substances may acquire new mechanical, optical, electrical or magnetic properties when nano-sized. Existing products can have new innovative applications through the incorporation of nanomaterials, thereby offering financial opportunities for companies to innovate with nanomaterials.
The use of nanomaterials is part of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of materials on very small (atomic, molecular, supramolecular) scale. This applies to the production of nanomaterials (e.g. stacking of nanostructures like graphene layers) as well as to the processing on nanoscale (e.g. in nano-electronics where grooves at nanoscale level are used in the manufacturing of printed circuits or chips). Nanoproducts and -processes are used already in many sectors of industry.
Worries concerning nanotechnology
Besides the advantages of nanotechnology and nanomaterials, there are also worries relating to the safety of man and the environment. Especially single (un-agglomerated, un-aggregated), poorly degradable synthetic nanoparticles are cause for concern.