Dr. Prathna TC (Researcher at Institute of Nanoscience and Technology, Mohali, India)
Nanotechnology involves the production, manipulation and use of materials (nanoparticles) usually in the size range of 1 to 100 nm. Synthesis of nanoparticles is gaining interest due to their unique optical, electronic, magnetic, chemical and photochemical properties. Nanoparticles, and noble metal nanoparticles, in particular, have wide applications in the field of electronic, magnetic, optoelectronics information storage and in biomedical applications. Nanoparticles are widely synthesized by chemical methods owing to their reduced reaction times. But this is accompanied by very high reaction temperatures and the use of toxic precursors. Increasing environmental concerns have resulted in attempts to develop green approaches to synthesize nanoparticles. One of the main processes in the green synthesis makes use of bioreduction for synthesizing nanoparticles. In the biological method, microorganisms and plants have been made use of in the synthesis of nanoparticles. Owing to the elaborate process of maintaining the microbial culture, there is increased focus on the synthesis of nanoparticles using plants. The nanoparticles produced by the biological method are now attracting attention from nanobiotechnologists due to the promise that they hold in the field of drug delivery.
An important challenge in technology is to tailor various properties of nanoparticles by controlling their size and shape. Green synthesis of nanoparticles has opened its doors to a world of nanoparticles with easy preparation protocols and lesser toxicity as compared to chemically synthesized ones which are significant in bio based applications. However on the flip side, it is a challenge to control the size of green synthesized nanoparticles in view of difficulties in standardization of the synthesis process. More research therefore needs to be directed towards the mechanistics of nanoparticle formation.