Carbon Nanomaterials: Nanotoxicity and the Influence of Impurities on their Electrochemistry

C.L.K. Elaine, M. Pumera
Nanyang Technological University, SG

Keywords: nanomaterials, nanotoxicity, carbon nanotubes, impurities

Summary:

Carbon nanomaterials have often been underestimated as materials when in fact they are of complex nature, often containing impurities. These impurities can dramatically influence, or even dominate various properties of carbon nanotubes as well as graphenes. There has been an increasing interest in the usage of carbon nanotubes-modified electrodes in applications such as the electrochemical detection of biologically significant compounds, because of their apparent inherent “electrocatalytic” properties and ability to enhance oxidative signals. But in spite of their salient properties, little work has been done to further examine the reasons for these reported characteristics. With the understanding of how impurities within carbon nanomaterials can have an impact on their properties, it is also equally important to follow up with relevant nanotoxicity studies. This is becoming increasing urgent with the influx of carbon nanomaterials permeating various industries, from the use of CNTs in sporting equipments to graphene-related materials in drug delivery. As such, we extended our work to study the toxic effects of carbon nanomaterials by employing traditional toxicology methodology like in-vitro cell culture studies. In particular, we seek to illustrate the cytotoxic effects of nanomaterials in the interaction of nanomaterials during the biological interphase.