The quest for low temperature nanoparticle preparation methods has spanned a wide range of systems. One that has been in existence for decades but has not been put into use in other industries is the method of preparing silver halide particles. Eastman Kodak in France, England, and the United States has utilized solution precipitation technology with well-controlled mixing and nucleation control to produce a wide range of grain sizes. "Lippmann"-type grains have a size of about 50 nm. Some of the properties of these fine-grain systems are discussed by Trivelli and Smith (1939).

There are other methods of creating nanoparticles of organic materials such as filter dye applications in photographic films and spectral sensitizing dyes for use in silver halide grains. Ultrafine grinding media are used to almost sandpaper organic crystals to nanoparticle ranges of 20-80 nm (Czekai et al. 1994). Similar technology by Bishop has been utilized in both pharmaceutical preparations and ink jet applications with good success (Bishop et al. 1990).

One other exciting area is in polymer science, where dendrimer molecules, often 10 nanometers in diameter, are prepared synthetically. These molecules have been studied in gene therapy, as aids in helping to detect chemical or biological agents in the air, and as a means to deliver therapeutic genes in cancer cells (Henderson 1996). The preparation of dendritic starburst molecules is described by Salamone (1996, 1814). One can imagine applications for coatings in which these molecules with their highly reactive surfaces participate in either classical (sub-nanoscopic chemistry) or novel nanoscopic conversions.

Published: September 1999; WTEC Hyper-Librarian