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Overview - Soft Nanotechnology

F. Case
Case Scientific, US

Keywords:
nanostructured fluids, soft nanotechnology, paints, food, personal care products, and cosmetics

Abstract:
Nanotechnology has been defined as “understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications.” The term was originally applied to hard materials with nanometer dimensions: carbon nanotubes, the nanoscale patterning on computer chips, hard nanoparticles. Over the last couple of years, however, the focus in nanotechnology publications and at major conferences such as NSTI Nanotech has shifted to include soft materials with sub-micron structure. There is already a wide array of products based on nanostructured fluids and soft materials such as paints, food, personal care products, and cosmetics. The performance of these materials does indeed depend on unique nanoscale phenomena. So, what is new? Why are we now calling this soft nanotechnology? The answer is that over the last few years new tools have been developed which will allow us to understand and control this soft nanostructure. Advances in theory, modeling and characterization methods offer the hope of intelligent design of the “traditional” nanostructured fluids and soft materials, and the prospect of entirely new products and processes. This overview presentation will include examples of nanostructure formation (self-assembly and directed assembly) using surfactants, polymers, and proteins. We will highlight applications in cosmetics, food, personal care, pharmaceutical (drug delivery), and oil industries.

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