A non-toxic and environmentally friendly way to make tiny nanorods of zinc oxide has been developed for the first time by researchers in Saudi Arabia. The approach, described in the current issue of the International Journal of Nanoparticles, could allow the nanorods to be used safely in medical and for other applications.
Zinc oxide has many uses when fabricated as nanoparticles and nanorods, just 100 nanometers in diameter. In such as nanoscopic form, it can be used in food products, such as breakfast cereals as a source of zinc, a necessary nutrient. It can also be used in dentistry and cosmetic ointments, creams, and lotions to protect against sunburn and skin damage caused by ultraviolet light.
Zinc oxide can also act as a sensor for detecting changes in electric current due to absorption of gas molecules and so be used for gas leak warning devices. In electronics, the same material has wrought a revolution in lasers and light emitting diodes (LEDs). And as a biosensor, it can be used as a biomimic membrane to immobilize and modify biomolecules.