Nanoparticles, incredibly small particles at the nanometer scale, are at the forefront of transforming medicine. With dimensions that allow them to navigate the intricate pathways of our bodies, these tiny agents are revolutionizing drug delivery, diagnostics, and personalized medicine. In drug delivery, they act as precise couriers, delivering medications directly to targeted cells, maximizing therapeutic impact while minimizing side effects. The role of nanoparticles in diagnostics is equally remarkable, offering a tool that interacts with specific biomarkers for early disease detection, particularly crucial in conditions like cancer. Additionally, nanoparticles pave the way for personalized medicine, tailoring treatments at the molecular level based on an individual's unique genetic profile. As we explore the applications of nanoparticles in medicine, it becomes clear that these minuscule entities hold immense potential to redefine healthcare, offering a future where treatments are not only more effective but also personalized and proactive.

Figure 1. Present and future applications of nanoparticles.Figure 1. Present and future applications of nanoparticles. (Khan AU, et al.; 2020)

Characteristics of Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles refer to particles with a particle size between 1-100nm (nanoparticles are also called ultrafine particles). Belongs to the size category of colloidal particles. They are in the transition zone between atomic clusters and macroscopic objects, between microscopic systems and macroscopic systems. They are groups composed of a small number of atoms or molecules, so they are neither typical microscopic systems nor typical macroscopic systems.

Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman first proposed the concept of nanometers in a speech at the end of 1959, but the real effective study of nanoparticles began in the 1960s. In 1963, Uyeda et al. prepared gold nanoparticles by gas condensation method. Since the German scientist Gleiter and others successfully produced iron nanoparticles using an inert gas condensation method in 1984, it marked the official birth of nanoscience and technology. In the past ten years, more and more scientists have been engaged in research on nanomaterials and have achieved fruitful research results in preparation, properties and applications.

It is foreseeable that nanoparticles should have some novel physical and chemical properties. The characteristic that distinguishes nanoparticles from the structure of macroscopic objects is that their surface area accounts for a large proportion, and the surface atoms have neither long-range nor short-range amorphous layers. It can be considered that the state of the atoms on the surface of the nanoparticles is closer to the gas state, while the atoms inside the particles may be arranged in an orderly manner. Even so, due to the small particle size and large surface curvature, high gilibs pressure is generated internally, which can lead to some deformation of the internal structure. This structural feature of nanoparticles enables it to have the following four effects.

  • Volume effect
  • Surface effect
  • Quantum size effect
  • Macroscopic quantum tunneling effect

Application Areas of Nanoparticles

When it comes to the application areas of nanoparticles, we can provide insight into the specific applications and benefits in each area:

  • Medical Applications

Drug delivery: Nanoparticles can serve as drug carriers and help improve the solubility, stability and bioavailability of drugs. This improves drug delivery efficiency and reduces dosage and side effects.

Medical equipment: Nanotechnology is used to manufacture medical equipment, such as nanosensors, nanoprobes, etc., which are used to detect and monitor small changes in living organisms, helping to diagnose early diseases.

Tumor treatment: Through nanotechnology, targeted nanoparticles can be designed to deliver drugs more accurately to cancer cells and reduce damage to healthy cells.

Cardiovascular disease treatment: Nanoparticles can be used to prepare drug carriers to improve the effectiveness of cardiovascular disease treatment by improving the targeting of drugs.

Neurological disease treatment: Nanotechnology can help design nanoparticles that cross the blood-brain barrier and can be used to treat neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Imaging diagnosis: Nanoparticles can also be used to prepare contrast agents for medical imaging to improve the accuracy of diagnosis.

  • Supplementary Introduction to Other Application Areas

Pollutant detection and treatment: Nanomaterials can be used to prepare efficient adsorbents for detecting and removing pollutants in water and air, helping to protect the environment.

Dietary Supplements: Nanotechnology is used to prepare highly effective dietary supplements that enhance the absorption of nutrients, such as nanoscale vitamins and minerals.

Cosmetics: Nanoparticles are used in cosmetics to improve the texture and stability of products while providing better skin penetration and enhancing the effectiveness of cosmetics.

Agriculture: Nanotechnology can be used to improve agricultural production, such as preparing nanofertilizers, improving nutrient use efficiency, and using nanosensors to monitor soil health.

Catalysis: Nanomaterials have important applications in the field of catalysis, which can improve the activity and selectivity of catalysts and are used for chemical reactions in industrial production.

Textile Industry: Nanotechnology is used in the textile industry to prepare functional textiles with properties such as waterproofing, antibacterial, and sun protection to improve the performance of textiles.


  1. Khan AU, et al.; Selected nanotechnologies and nanostructures for drug delivery, nanomedicine and cure. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng. 2020, 43(8):1339-1357.
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