2015: The Year of the Trillion Dollar Nanotechnology Market?

Nano Markets 2015 ImageForArticle_3946(1)

Story by Tim Harper

Announcing the US National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2000, President Bill Clinton declared:

“Imagine the possibilities: materials with ten times the strength of steel and only a small fraction of the weight — shrinking all the information housed at the Library of Congress into a device the size of a sugar cube — detecting cancerous tumors when they are only a few cells in size. Some of our research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the federal government.” 1

One of the most widely repeated predictions for nanotechnologies was its role in the creation of a trillion dollar industry by 2015, predicted by Mike Roco and his colleagues at the National Science Foundation.2

Looking back at the original National Nanotechnology Initiative forecasts, the biggest economic contributions of nanotechnology came from materials ($340bn), electronics ($300bn), pharmaceuticals ($180bn), chemicals ($100bn), transportation ($70bn) and sustainability ($100bn).

But as is often the case with headline numbers, these were not the product of a huge data collection exercise, but estimates based on a few reports and private communications (see below).

My Nanotech Is Bigger Than Your Nanotech

The NNI predictions spawned a series of reports promising ever higher numbers. The high water mark was the $3.6 trillion predicted by Lux Research back in 2005, which coincided with the peak of nanotech excitement.

The large numbers caused some debate at the time as to whether it was the value of the nanotechnology, or the value of the product, that should be used. One oft-cited example was that in some analyses, the addition of a nanotech-based anti-scratch paint to an automobile would result in the entire value of the car being added to the “nanotechnology market’ column, while in others it would be just the value of the nanoparticles used.

My preference at the time was to use the value of something that would not have existed without the nanotechnology; the automobile clearly would have done, but the anti-scratch paint would not.

While market numbers are always speculative I can still point to one prediction I got right: “there is not, and never will be, a nanotechnology industry”.3

Predicting The Unknowable

So why did we spend so much time trying to size something so nebulous? Why did everyone spend so much effort on predicting the size of an industry that would never exist?

Michael Berger suggested that:

“These trillion-dollar forecasts for an artificially constructed ‘market’ are an irritating, sensationalist and unfortunate way of saying that sooner or later nanotechnologies will have a deeply transformative impact on more or less all aspects of our lives.” 4

It’s easy to pooh-pooh forecasts, but someone has to make a guess at what is coming over the horizon.

There is a need for big numbers, and it’s not all about hype. With perfect hindsight we may raise an eyebrow at some of the predictions, but no government would have invested half a billion dollars in something predicted to be a hundred million dollar market.

Nobody would have written front page newspaper and magazine articles about a bunch of companies that would lose a few million dollars and go bust within a few years, and perhaps more importantly, no corporate finance director would have signed off on investment in a new area of research unless the numbers were big enough to trigger the twin corporate neuroses of fear and greed. This fed through to governments worldwide triggering an annual worldwide spend of $10Bn a year.5

Back to the Future bttf-1Back To The Future

So were the early predictions from Bill Clinton and his advisors right?

The Library of Congress held a few terabytes of data in 2000 – although that is estimated to now be tens of petabytes – so holding the 1999 data on a sugar cube sized device is more or less possible. Methods to detect cancerous tumours at an early stage using nanotechnology are under development.

In fact, most of the “Grand Challenges” stated in the early NNI documents have been met – with the exception of a “continuous presence in space outside of the solar system with low-powered microspacecraft”. Given that it took 18 years for a bit of my atomic force microscopy work at ESA to arrive at a comet, I’ll forgive this one.

Mission Accomplished?

Fifteen years on from the inception of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, there’s not much to carp about. Nanotechnology research is well funded globally, and leading to exactly the kind of breakthroughs that were envisaged back in the late 90’s. As nobody managed to predict the iPhone, Twitter or Facebook, that is remarkable.

But nobody involved with the NNI explicitly promised or predicted a trillion dollar market by 2015 – and with the contribution of nanotechnology being virtually impossible to quantify, we probably shouldn’t get too hung up on that one number.

The greatest legacy of the mythical “trillion dollar market” was the fear of missing out (or even of allowing the US to dominate), and that was sufficient to spur many similar efforts in other countries. This, combined with widespread adoption of the Internet, made nanotechnology the first truly global scientific revolution.


Original 2001 Market Estimates

  • Materials with high performance, unique properties and functions will be produced that traditional chemistry could not create. Nanostructured materials and processes are estimated to increase their market impact to about $340 billion per year in the next 10 years (Hitachi Research Institute, personal communication, 2001).
  • Electronics: Nanotechnology is projected to yield annual production of about $300 billion for the semiconductor industry and about the same amount more for global integrated circuits sales within 10 to 15 years
  • Improved Healthcare: Nanotechnology will help prolong life, improve its quality, and extend human physical capabilities.
  • Pharmaceuticals: About half of all production will be dependent on nanotechnology — affecting over $180 billion per year in 10 to 15 years (E. Cooper, Elan/Nanosystems, personal communication, 2000).
  • Chemical Plants: Nanostructured catalysts have applications in the petroleum and chemical processing industries, with an estimated annual impact of $100 billion in 10 to 15 years (assuming a historical rate of increase of about 10% from $30 billion in 1999; “NNI: The Initiative and Its Implementation Plan,” page 84).6
  • Transportation: Nanomaterials and nanoelectronics will yield lighter, faster, and safer vehicles and more durable, reliable, and cost-effective roads, bridges, runways, pipelines, and rail systems. Nanotechnology-enabled aerospace products alone are projected to have an annual market value of about $70 billion in ten years (Hitachi Research Institute, personal communication, 2001).
  • Sustainability: Nanotechnology will improve agricultural yields for an increased population, provide more economical water filtration and desalination, and enable renewable energy sources such as highly efficient solar energy conversion; it will reduce the need for scarce material resources and diminish pollution for a cleaner environment. For example, in 10 to 15 years, projections indicate that nanotechnology-based lighting advances have the potential to reduce worldwide consumption of energy by more than 10%, reflecting a savings of $100 billion dollars per year and a corresponding reduction of 200 million tons of carbon emissions (“NNI: The Initiative and Its Implementation Plan,” page 93).6

About Tim Harper: A former engineer at the European Space Agency, his business background ranges from venture capital to running public companies to advising governments and international organizations.


  1. National Nanotechnology Initiative: Leading to the Next Industrial Revolution – White House Report, 2000 (PDF)
  2. Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology – National Science Foundation, 2001 (PDF)
  3. The First and Last Nanotech Conference – Cientifica, 2009
  4. Debunking the trillion dollar nanotechnology market size hype – Nanowerk Spotlight, 2007
  5. Global Funding of Nanotechnologies & Its Impact – Cientifica, 2011 (PDF)
  6. NNI: The Initiative and Its Implementation Plan – National Science Foundation, 2000 (PDF)

*** Team GNT writes: Mr. Harper writes of what he knows and knows well. Our opinion is simply that indeed Nanotechnology ” … will impact nearly every aspect of our everyday life”. Because of the ‘cross-disciplines’ engaged by nanotechnology, that integrate across so many Industries and Markets, we prefer to refer to use the term – “Nano-Enabled”.

BOOM! Buckybomb shows Potential Power of Nanoscale Explosives

buckybombScientists have simulated the explosion of a modified buckminsterfullerene molecule (C60), better known as a buckyball, and shown that the reaction produces a tremendous increase in temperature and pressure within a fraction of a second. The nanoscale explosive, which the scientists nickname a “buckybomb,” belongs to the emerging field of high-energy nanomaterials that could have a variety of military and industrial applications.

The researchers, Vitaly V. Chaban, Eudes Eterno Fileti, and Oleg V. Prezhdo at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, have published a paper on the simulated buckybomb explosion in a recent issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. Chaban is also with the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil.

The buckybomb combines the unique properties of two classes of materials: carbon structures and energetic nanomaterials. Carbon materials such as C60 can be chemically modified fairly easily to change their properties. Meanwhile, NO2 groups are known to contribute to detonation and combustion processes because they are a major source of oxygen. So, the scientists wondered what would happen if NO2 groups were attached to C60 molecules: would the whole thing explode? And how?


Molecular configuration of an exploding buckybomb. Credit: ACS

The simulations answered these questions by revealing the explosion in step-by-step detail. Starting with an intact buckybomb (technically called dodecanitrofullerene, or C60(NO2)12), the researchers raised the simulated temperature to 1000 K (700 °C). Within a picosecond (10-12 second), the NO2 groups begin to isomerize, rearranging their atoms and forming new groups with some of the carbon atoms from the C60. As a few more picoseconds pass, the C60 structure loses some of its electrons, which interferes with the bonds that hold it together, and, in a flash, the large molecule disintegrates into many tiny pieces of diatomic carbon (C2). What’s left is a mixture of gases including CO2, NO2, and N2, as well as C2.

Although this reaction requires an initial heat input to get going, once it’s going it releases an enormous amount of heat for its size. Within the first picosecond, the temperature increases from 1000 to 2500 K. But at this point the molecule is unstable, so additional reactions over the next 50 picoseconds raise the temperature to 4000 K. At this , the pressure can reach as high as 1200 MPa (more than 10,000 times normal atmospheric pressure), depending on the density of the material.

Chemically speaking, the scientists explain that the heat energy comes from the high density of covalent energy stored by the carbon-carbon bonds in the C60. Because the NO2 groups initiate the reaction, adding more NO2 groups increases the amount of energy released during the explosion. Choosing an appropriate number of these groups, as well as changing the compound concentration, provide ways to control the explosion strength.

The researchers predict that this quick release of chemical energy will provide exciting opportunities for the design of new high-energy nanomaterials.

Explore further: Half spheres for molecular circuits

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-03-buckybomb-potential-power-nanoscale-explosives.html#jCp

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-03-buckybomb-potential-power-nanoscale-explosives.html#jCp

What are Quantum Dots?


Over the past few years, fluorescent semiconductor nanoparticles have gained a lot of importance. In comparison with traditional fluorescent dyes, they show considerable benefits. These nanocrystals comprise an inorganic core and the composition and size of the inorganic core decide their optical characteristics (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Quantum dots

The core features excellent fluorescence properties as it exhibits high stability against environmental conditions such as irradiation, air or temperature. The stabilization of organic molecules surrounding this inorganic core enables solubility in organic solvents such as toluene, hexanes or chloroform. It is possible to obtain dispersibility in aqueous media without losing the quantum dot’s original properties by interchanging these organic ligands in the outer sphere via water soluble molecules.

Light absorption used for excitation in the case of nanoparticles is normally larger when compared to fluorescent dyes. Hence the detection of these particles can be done at very low concentrations and even a single particle could be investigated using spectroscopic methods.

Semiconductor Nanoparticles

Semiconductor nanoparticles are the most studied system among fluorescent particles. By modifying the particle size, the band gap of these systems and therefore the emission wavelength can be manipulated. Hence these systems are highly attractive. The smaller the quantum dot size, the bigger is the band-gap and shorter is the emitted light wavelength. This effect is termed as size quantization.

By taking a collective decision on material size and composition, it is possible to cover the complete visible light spectrum up to the IR region. Using this concept, CAN has developed the CANdots Series A, B and C.

CANdots Series

The CANdots series from CAN covers the following:

  • Series A covers the spectrum’s visible region having emission wavelengths from 500 to 650nm
  • Series B covers the spectrum’s near IR section with emission wavelengths from 650 to 800nm
  • Series C covers the spectrum’s IR region with emission maxima more than 1000nm

As the absorption increases from the emission maximum while moving towards shorter wavelengths, the nanoparticles can be excited with all wavelengths below the emission. In comparison with organic fluorescent dyes, it is not necessary to reset the excitation wavelength for each dye. A complete set of a variety of nanoparticles can be excited all together with a single excitation wavelength and their emission can be detected.

After excitation, i.e. after light absorption, an electron-hole pair is generated in semiconductor nanocrystals. This exciton or electron-hole pair is free to move within the core until recombination or emission of light occurs. During this time (typically around 10-20ns), the charge carriers may be bound at some other place and consequently there may be a decrease in emission intensity.

In order to prevent this, the semiconductor nanoparticles or cores were enclosed by passivating inorganic shells. The particle stability is improved with these shells. In addition, there is an improvement in the quantum yield of the system such as in CAN Series A core/shell (CdSe/CdS) and core/shell/shell (CdSe/ZnSe/ZnS) systems.

About Center for Applied Nanotechnology (CAN) GmbH

The Center for Applied Nanotechnology (CAN) GmbH offer companies and other institutions bilateral contract R&D services in the area of nanotechnology.

Furthermore, CAN GmbH participate in national and international research programs. They focus on the utilization of new concepts in nanochemistry, especially in the fields of energy (components for solar and fuel cells), life sciences (diagnostic agents) and home & personal care (cosmetics, detergents, specialty polymers) and corresponding nanoanalysis.

Their main expertise is the production of various nanoscaled materials like fluorescent, magnetic and catalytically-active nanocrystals. Since 2005 they are producing a variety of nanoparticles with different properties: quantum dot materials with fluorescent features (Series A in the visible and Series C in the NIR/IR-range), rare-earth doped nanoparticles (Series X – blue, green, red), magnetic particles (Series M – iron oxide) and plasmonic gold nanoparticles (Series G).

These products are marketed under the brand CANdots® and are dispersible in polar or unpolar media readily available for applications in research and industry.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Center for Applied Nanotechnology (CAN) GmbH.

For more information on this source, please visit Center for Applied Nanotechnology (CAN) GmbH.

Gov’t Awards $8.1 Million for Kingston Graphene Production

AA 1 grafoidThe Hon. Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) announced today the award of $8.1 million to Grafoid Inc. – Canada’s leading graphene technologies and applications developer – to automate Grafoid’s production of its low-cost, high-purity MesoGraf™ graphene.

“Our government is investing in advanced clean energy technologies that create well-paying jobs and generate economic opportunities. Today’s announcement contributes to economic prosperity and a cleaner environment in Ontario and across Canada,” said Mr. Rickford, who is also the Minister Responsible for Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.

The contribution from SDTC is an $8.1 million non-repayable grant to design and test the automation system for the production of constant quality MesoGraf™. Further, the grant enables the testing of pre-commercial products using MesoGraf™ graphene from the automated system.

The minister announced the funding at a news conference in Toronto attended by Grafoid and five other Canadian non graphene-related technology companies.

Ottawa-based Grafoid, the developer of a diverse range of renewable energy, industrial, military and consumer applications from its MesoGraf™ materials is the first Canadian graphene technologies developer to partner with the Canadian Government.

Canada joins the European Union, the United States, China and South Korea in providing funding assistance to privately-held graphene enterprises.

Grafoid Founding Partner and CEO Gary Economo praised Canada’s decision to stake its claim in the graphene space as the world races toward the commercialization of a potentially disruptive, pan-industrial nanomaterial.

“This is a great day for the Canadian graphene industry and for Grafoid, in particular, because it leads us out of the laboratory and into the automated manufacturing of the world’s new wonder material,” he told the news conference.

“Effectively, today’s $8.1million Federal government funding grant enables us to take a giant leap towards graphene’s broader commercialization,” Mr. Economo said. “It will permit us to increase MesoGraf™ production output from kilograms to tonnes within our global technology centre in Kingston, Ontario.

“For this we are truly appreciative of Canada’s actions in recognizing our science and commercial objectives. In the past three years Grafoid has travelled the globe staking our unique position in the graphene revolution. Today we are gratified to do this going forward with the Government of Canada,” Mr. Economo said.

Grafoid produces MesoGraf™ directly from high-grade graphite ore on a safe, economically scalable, environmentally sustainable basis. Its patent pending one-step process is unique in the industry, producing single layer, bi-layer and tri-layer graphene.

It is then adapted – or functionalized – by Grafoid for use in biomedical, renewable energy storage and production, military, aerospace and automotive, additive materials for 3D printing, water purification, construction, lubricants, solar solutions, coatings, sporting equipment and other sectoral applications.

At one atom thin, graphene is a two-dimensional pure carbon derived from graphite.

It is the strongest material known to science, is barely visible to the naked eye, yet it holds the potential to become a disruptive technology across all industrial sectors and ultimately, for the benefit of humanity.

China to see world’s first graphene phones before others

A1 graphene-phones-600x330Two Chinese firms have beaten global competition to launch phones with touch screens, batteries and thermal conduction incorporating graphene, a recently isolated material with outstanding electrical, chemical and mechanical properties.

A batch of 30,000 such phones was jointly put on sale by the Moxi and Galapad technology firms on Monday in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, Xinhua news agency reported.

The use of graphene can make touch screens more sensitive and prolong battery life by 50 percent, according to the producers.

The key technology for the new phones, which use the Android system and will sell for 2,499 yuan ($406) each, was developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms in a honeycomb lattice. It was first isolated in 2004. Scientists worldwide have been rushing to test it.

China leads the world in the mass production of graphene films for phone and computer touch screens. In 2013, a production line capable of producing tens of millions of graphene films every year went into operation in Chongqing.

New Technologies like Paper Batteries and Graphene Poised to Create Billion-Dollar Markets, says reports from THINTRI

Paper Battery 1A series of market investigations by Thintri, Inc. (www.thintri.com) has revealed significant new opportunities in several emerging technologies. These studies have uncovered three technologies that are projected to undergo dramatic market growth through the decade, moving rapidly from very modest, or even non-existent, markets to billion-dollar levels within the next five to 10 years.

The opportunities are analyzed in Thintri’s Market Alerts, a series of shorter, concise market studies focusing on new or previously overlooked technologies that are poised to make a significant impact in the near future.

TV White Space:

Television White Space refers to the frequency bands residing between broadcast television channels that have been freed up by the move to digital television, and made available by the FCC for unlicensed use in telecommunications. The technology, which has already been proven in a number of deployments, comes at a time when conventional wireless networks are approaching saturation, when demand is growing at more than 100 percent per year. This bandwidth crunch results not only from burgeoning consumer smartphone use, but also new applications like the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine communications.

TV White Space can provide relief, with the potential to offer Exabytes per month of added capacity in this decade. It also offers potentially highly profitable solutions in bringing broadband wireless access to rural and underserved populations, as well as wide area and metropolitan networks.

Graphene-Based Lubricants:

Graphene, a two-dimensional array of carbon atoms, offers a number of fascinating properties. It is the thinnest material ever found, it’s hundreds of times stronger than steel and offers extraordinary electronic properties. Graphene offers the potential to remake entire industries, but none more so than lubricants. Graphene is chemically inert and offers high mechanical strength, and can be applied to nanoscale devices or macro-scale machinery, all with significant advantages over established lubricants.

Graphene-based lubricants can be applied as solid coatings deposited on surfaces exposed to friction, or used as an additive to fluid lubricants. Compared to conventional lubricants, graphene-based lubricants can reduce wear by as much as four orders of magnitude with relative insensitivity to environmental conditions. No other known solid lubricant can reduce friction and wear as effectively as graphene. Graphene-based lubricants were initially held back by high prices but with the plummeting price of graphene, graphene-based lubricants are ready to capture multi-billion dollar markets within the present decade.

Paper Electronics and Paper Batteries:

Paper electronics, the printing of electronic devices, circuits and displays on cheap, disposable paper substrates, is rapidly approaching commercialization and offers the promise of creating large, entirely new markets. Of course paper electronics will never duplicate silicon’s performance, but that’s not the point. While performance will be limited, costs will be so low that electronics and displays will find themselves in applications undreamt of until now. Roll-to-roll printing will print electronic circuits on paper substrates faster than an Olympic sprinter can run, enabling incredibly high volume production.

Paper electronics will bring intelligence to innumerable applications that today are strictly low tech. For example, ordinary packaging will incorporate displays running videos on product operation; small, disposable tabs will quickly diagnose disease in the patient’s home; business cards will update themselves or show a person’s present location; retail security will include technically sophisticated mechanisms that cost pennies; billboards and signage will be easily updated and include full-motion video; and many other applications will be made possible and extremely inexpensive.

The greatest revenue opportunity will be paper batteries and ultracapacitors. Paper has long been used in power capacitors, but can also be made into lightweight, robust and powerful batteries that can be rolled or folded into nearly any shape, able to accommodate the most constrained form factors, such as in cell phones. Paper ultracapacitors can efficiently deliver tremendous bursts of power, a necessity in some applications like electric vehicles, biometric ATM cards or small devices sending wireless signals. Markets for paper electronics and paper batteries will likely approach billion-dollar levels within 10 years.

Thintri’s Market Alerts highlight extraordinary opportunities for investment and revenue in fast-changing markets by technologies that are poised to revolutionize entire industries. More details can be found at http://www.thintri.com/ .

Plasmonic nanocrystals for combined photothermal and photodynamic cancer therapies

AAAAAAA Photo Thermal id39061Photothermal therapy (PTT) is a form of cancer treatment where a therapeutic agent absorbs energy from photons and dissipates it partially in the form of heat. When the therapeutic agents, for instance nanoparticles, are located in close vicinity to the tumor site, the temperature increase can lead to cell damage, i.e. it kills the cancer cell. Research on PTT has made a huge progress thanks to various near-infrared light (NIR) absorbing – i.e. plasmonic – nanomaterials that have been developed in the past years. A similar approach uses light instead of heat and is called photodynamic therapy (PDT). This technique requires the use of a chemical compound – also known as photosensitizer – with a particular type of light to kill cancer cells.

The photosensitizer in the tumor absorbs the light and generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) – such as hydroxyl radical, singlet oxygen, as well as peroxides – that destroy nearby cancer cells. While these techniques have been around for years, more recently the use of nanomaterials such as various forms of gold nanoparticles (rods, cages, spheres), quantum dots or iron-oxide nanoparticles has allowed researchers to refine their therapeutic methods with a view to also explore the mechanisms behind the efficacy. Scientists also developed combinations of nanomaterial-mediated PTT and organic photosensitizer-mediated PDT to achieve synergistic therapeutic effects.

However, most of these approaches achieved only tumor suppression rather than complete destruction, especially under low laser dose conditions. Among the nanomaterials used, copper sulfide nanocrystals stand out because they can efficiently absorb near-infrared light at the 700-1100 nm range, which is considered as ‘transparent’ to human tissue at this energy level. Another reason that these plasmonic nanocrystals have attracted much attention as materials for PTT is their small size, which leads to the possibility of deeper tumor permeation. Previous reports have correlated photo induced cell death to the photothermal heat mechanism of copper sulfide nanocrystals, but no evidence of their photodynamic properties had been reported yet. In a new study, reported in the January 20, 2015 online edition of ACS Nano (“Plasmonic Copper Sulfide Nanocrystals Exhibiting Near-Infrared Photothermal and Photodynamic Therapeutic Effects”), an international team of researchers led by Drs. Teresa Pellegrino, Huan Meng, and Huiyu Liu, used abiotic assays, cultured cancer cells, and a melanoma animal model to demonstrate the PTT activity of copper sulfide nanocrystals. The paper lays out the working principle of colloidal, NIR plasmonic copper sulfide nanocrystals exploitable for both PDT and PTT therapy with NIR activation. Near-Infrared Photothermal<br />
and Photodynamic Therapeutics

Schematic of the combined photothermal and photodynamic therapy. (Reprinted with permission by American Chemical Society) This is the first report that under a NIR light radiation copper sulfide nanocrystals (Cu2-xS) achieve efficient cancer destroying efficacy via PTT and PDT mechanisms both in vitro and in vivo. “Our findings demonstrated the dual functionalities of copper sulfide nanocrystals, which are capable of melanoma cancer inhibition under NIR irradiation via photothermal therapy and photodynamic therapy mediated mechanisms,” Huiyu Liu, an Associate Professor at the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, tells Nanowerk. “This is the first report demonstrating that the leakage of copper ions from copper sulfide nanocrystals could enhance the ROS generation under NIR light irradiation, which serves as a new mechanism in addition to the sole PTT mechanism.” Investigating the ROS generation mechanism, the researchers were able to show that the reduction of dissolved Cu2+ ions leads to Cu+ ions which further interact with the biological redox molecules, i.e. ascorbic acid and glutathione, and thus trigger the ROS generation. “Interestingly” Liu notes, “while we worked with a scenario involving nanoparticles, our theory behind the ROS generation is supported by a classic chemistry study, also known as Haber-Weiss cycle, proposed by Kadiiska et al. more than 20 years ago (“In vivo evidence of hydroxyl radical formation after acute copper and ascorbic acid intake: electron spin resonance spin-trapping investigation”). Based on the promising effect of photothermal therapies, the research team is confident that their dual functional Cu2-xS nanocrystals could lead to an even more potent platform for cancer treatment. “We are also considering to perform additional acute and chronic tests for our platform including the use of multiple melanoma animal models to confirm our findings in B16 murine model,” says Liu. “Based on our proof-of-principle results, further studies are required to evaluate and optimize the PTT, or PDT, or dual functional platforms as we demonstrated in various cancer models, i.e. melanoma and head and neck carcinoma, with a view to also look at nanosafety in an acute and chronic phase.” She adds that, from a manufacture perspective, it is necessary to consider the scalability of nanomaterial production as well as quality control.

By M. Berger Nanowerk