using nanotechnology in biology research

See How Nanobiology Research Is Used In Today’s World

Bionanotechnology, Nanobiotechnology, and Nanobiology are phrases that apply to the intersection of biology and nanotechnology. Given that the topic is one that has just emerged quite recently, bionanotechnology and nanobiotechnology function as blanket terms for various associated technologies.

Nanobiology, as an area of research, implies the incorporation of biological analysis with nanotechnologies such as nanoparticles, nanodevices, or one-of-a-kind nanoscale aspects. However molecular practitioners have been working with tiny biomolecules for the past couple of decades, Nanobiology wasn’t defined as a subject until researchers began making a concentrated effort to use our understanding of nanotechnology to tackle biological issues.

The main objectives that are frequently seen in Nanobiology mean practicing nanotools to be proper medical/biological difficulties and refining these applications. Developing new tools, for example, peptoid nanosheets, for biological and medicinal purposes, is another primary objective in nanotechnology.

New nanotools are usually made by refining the applications of the nanotools which are currently being used. The imaging of biological membranes, native biomolecules, and cells is also a significant issue for nanobiology researchers. Additional topics concerning Nanobiology involve using cantilever array sensors and the use of nanophotonics for managing molecular processes in living cells.

Lately, the application of microorganisms to incorporate functional nanoparticles has been of great concern. Microorganisms can alter the oxidation status of metals. These microbial methods have opened up new possibilities for us to explore innovative applications, by way of instance, the biosynthesis of metal nanomaterials.

In contrast to physical and chemical procedures, microbial methods for incorporating nanomaterials can be accomplished in an aqueous state under mild and environmentally benign problems. This approach is now an attractive focus in current green bionanotechnology research towards sustainable growth.


When most people think about nanotechnology, we envision high-tech, ultra-fast computer chips, fresh stain-resistant substances, as well as literary, self-replicating nanomachines. When these marvels of nanotechnology are generally connected with the technological exploits of physics, chemistry, and technology, a new sort of nanoscience has been explored in labs throughout the world.

The thrilling new arena of Nanobiology has taken center stage in the interface between two worlds, the physical and the biological. The biological universe that most of us encounter is typically about the “macro” scale. The animals, plants, and other people that we communicate with usually are centimeters to meters in size and could be viewed with the naked eye.

When we move further to the cellular level, we begin considering cells on the order of one to tens of micrometers. Stepping down still another size scale, biological elements such as DNA and cell membranes are on the scale of 2-3 nanometers while proteins, like antibodies, are 5-10 nanometers in size.

Since all living things share these common elements (DNA, proteins, and membranes), biology is, and always has been, residing at the nanoscale.

As incorporation between nanotechnology and biology, Nanobiology includes a broad selection of research topics which may be divided into two main categories:

1) nanotechnologies applied to biological systems, and

2) the growth of biologically-inspired nanotechnologies. One logic to split Nanobiology within these categories is to distinguish between the sources of inspiration for the study.

In the first class, we use our physical, chemical, and engineering knowledge to understand biology better, visualize and detect biological methods, or to make better methods for interfacing the physical and biological worlds. This technical approach towards mathematics depends upon our abilities to envision and create systems which may be used for biological research.

On the other hand, biologically-inspired nanotechnologies utilize biological systems as the inspiration for technology that we try to create. This veritable “look in the rearview mirror” enables us to learn from eons of development that have led to exceptionally elegant, naturally generated systems.

This sort of nanobiological research can be summarized as a kind of “biomimetics,” which attempts to “mimic” biological methods or biological structures. While both of these main kinds of Nanobiology differ in their overall approach, they could both be utilized to understand the crossover between our physical and biological worlds better.

To better understand Nanobiology for a field of research, it’s helpful to look at a number of the overall research topics which are being analyzed both in academia and business settings. In very general terms, these areas of research can be split into nanobiological structures and systems, nanomedicine,  biomimetics, nano-interfacial biology, and nanoscale biology.

By grouping research within these areas of research, we can detect general ways nanotechnology and biology are brought together for common research objectives.

Nanobiological Structures & Systems

Nanobiological structures and systems research can comprise a vast array of technologies and biological methods but mainly focuses on using nanotechnology to detect, quantify, or probe biological systems.

The benefit of using nanotechnology for these functions comes from the distinctive physical properties which may be accomplished at the nanoscale. As an example, nanotechnology can be used to make nanochips or nanopatterned devices to display large numbers of biological targets. Due to the small size of these systems, researchers can use shorter sample sizes, do faster analyses, or apply smaller quantities of expensive chemicals and reagents.

Moreover, unique physical phenomena at the nanoscale can be harnessed for detection, sensing, and analytical functions. Many electrical and optical characteristics that happen at the nanoscale are responsive to biological molecules, producing highly sensitive analytical purposes. The subjects listed below represent a few of the most suitable research fields within nanobiological structures and practices, and some of the very high profile study that’s happening at major research hubs, such as the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at the University at Albany.

  • Lab-on-a-chip systems and sensors (low-power, mobile sensors that include many analytical standards into a single order)
  • Biosensors (sensors that can detect biological molecules, cells, or biological processes)
  • High throughput / massively parallel sensors (sensors that detect many goals at the same time or in a rapid manner)
  • Ultra-small sample volume sensors (sensors that use minimal quantities of chemicals or reagents)
  • BioMEMS (Biological Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems) (micrometer-sized mechanical and electric “machines” combined with biological cells or molecules )


Biomimetics, or the analysis of biological methods to inspire human-engineered systems, is a particular field of research that relies on natural systems for design concepts. The amount of potential research areas within biomimetics is significant because this field seeks to inspire engineering and technological advances from biological themes.

A general example of biomimetics is the usage of the lotus plant as motivation for water-repellent technology.

At the nanoscale, the petals of the lotus plant have routinely spaced characteristics that cause water droplets to roll from the leaf covering, without flowing out and “wetting” the leaf. This organic water-repellency was mimicked by assembling similar nanostructures from polymeric materials.

These bio-inspired nanostructures correctly imitate the features of the lotus leaf, forming a water-repellent, non-wettable, surface. Other research areas that fall under the subject of biomimetics are listed below:

  • Bio-inspired structure for nanotechnologies (from cells, viruses, proteins, and other biomolecules)
  • Chemical/structural mimicking of biology (for sensors and analytical systems)
  • Animal-on-a-chip and mock organs/methods (for drug testing, drug delivery, and mimicking environments)


Nanomedicine is a broad subject area that can encompass many of the other study areas within Nanobiology. For our purposes, however, we could specify nanomedicine as the application of nanotechnology in the health care field.

This may include the development of new kinds of sensors and analytical instruments, in addition to nanoscale methods of providing diagnosing disease or therapeutic drugs. Lots of the exciting improvements within nanotechnology are beginning to be harnessed by the health care field.

Nanoparticles and nano-engineered substances are utilized for drug delivery, and comparable systems are used to target disease-causing factors and tumor cells for therapeutics. Additionally, nanoparticles, such as fluorescent quantum dots, are starting to be explored for advanced imaging and diagnostics. A brief list of nanomedical research subjects are listed below:

  • Nano drug delivery and therapeutics
  • Nanodevices for imaging, sensing, and analytical functions
  • Nanoparticle and quantum dot tagging for diagnostics
  • Nanoparticle-based remedies for disease

Nanoscale Biology

Nanoscale biology is a general description of fundamental biological research that is either performed on the nanoscale, or that’s aided by nanoscale technology. This encompasses multiple research subjects which are often tough to the group inside a number of the more popular nanobiological research groups.

At the molecular level, all biological systems comprise nanoscale components. The carbohydrates,  RNA, DNA, lipids, and proteins which make up all our cells are nanoscale molecules that may be analyzed or shaped using nanotechnology.

One reason to examine biology at the nanoscale is to recognize characteristics that might not be viewed at the micro and macro dimension scales. As an example, measuring the physical properties of individual proteins or DNA molecules could provide us additional insight into their structure and function.

This knowledge may be used to understand better how biological systems function and how different elements of biological systems work mutually to let living things go, develop, interact, or even replicate. Just about any biological system could be approached in the nanoscale, yielding new information that can’t be observed at other size scales.

  • Cellular-level research (electrical, optical, force measurements with nanotools)
  • Molecular-level research (DNA, RNA, lipid, carbohydrate, & carbohydrates )
  • Using nanoscale tools for unique biological research (to a better knowledge of DNA replication, protein folding, )

Nano-Interfacial Biology

It brings together biochemistry,  chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology. In various ways, investigation efforts in Nanobiology (along with additional nanosciences) are hugely reliant upon chemical processes and interactions. This is particularly significant in Nanobiology because most biology happens either near physical surfaces or near the surfaces of proteins, membranes, or enzymes.

Thus, this research field focuses on chemical and biochemical interactions with interfaces at the nanoscale. One interesting part of nano-interfacial biology is that the “self-assembly” of biological molecules. Several biological molecules can make bigger, established structures without requiring any patterns, plans, or intricate nano-construction crews.

This self-assembly process creates bigger, three-dimensional structures which frequently have regularly repeating patterns in the micro and nanoscale. Self-assembly is, therefore, an attractive way of constructing nanoscale structures because it dramatically simplifies the fabrication procedure.

A significant push in Nanobiology is to combine physical interfaces with self-assembling molecules to make unique nanoscale structures or devices. By optimizing how biological cells or particles interact with these bodily surfaces, we can start to produce hybrid systems which are biologically actuated, biologically powered, or also nanoscale tools that trigger life responses.

This hybrid method could considerably benefit implanted or prosthetic devices that depend on the seamless communication between the prosthetic/implanted device and an organism. One could also envision interfacing complicated electrical arrangements, such as microchips, with an organism’s brain or nervous system.

For these kinds of systems, some of the main interactions are those that happen at the physical-biological interface. Some relevant research areas within this field are listed below:

  • Self-assembly and patterning of biomolecules on physical surfaces
  • Immobilization of enzymes, proteins, and nucleic acids in physical interfaces
  • Molecular interactions at surfaces and nanostructures
  • Surface chemistry such as biochemical surface attachment, chemical, self-assembled monolayers, and biochemical surface patterning
  • Evolution of cellular and molecular interfaces for implanted devices & prosthetics

Goals For Research

From this survey of research subjects within Nanobiology, it should be evident that Nanobiology includes a wide range of biological, chemical, physical, and engineering studies. Unlike traditional biological studies, Nanobiology concentrates on utilizing our comprehension of nanotechnology to improve our research abilities and progress biology from a unique, nanoscale perspective.

Much like physics and materials research, many systems have unique properties at the macro, micro, and nanoscale levels. By approaching Biology in the nanoscale, or by addressing nanotechnology from a biological viewpoint, we expect to get unique insights into how biological systems function and how we can develop new and improved bio-inspired technologies.

This exciting frontier ensures to the creation of new methods, provides further understanding, and as in any scientific discipline, yields new and more complicated questions to be answered.

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