Biological and environmental interactions of emerging two-dimensional nanomaterials
Two-dimensional materials have become a major focus in materials chemistry research worldwide with substantial efforts centered on synthesis, property characterization, and technological application. These high-aspect ratio sheet-like solids come in a wide array of chemical compositions, crystal phases, and physical forms, and are anticipated to enable a host of future technologies in areas that include electronics, sensors, coatings, barriers, energy storage and conversion, and biomedicine. A parallel effort has begun to understand the biological and environmental interactions of synthetic nanosheets, both to enable the biomedical developments and to ensure human health and safety for all application fields. This review covers the most recent literature on the biological responses to 2D materials and also draws from older literature on natural lamellar minerals to provide additional insight into the essential chemical behaviors. The article proposes a framework for more systematic investigation of biological behavior in the future, rooted in fundamental materials chemistry and physics. That framework considers three fundamental interaction modes: (i) chemical interactions and phase transformations, (ii) electronic and surface redox interactions, and (iii) physical and mechanical interactions that are unique to near-atomically-thin, high-aspect-ratio solids. Two-dimensional materials are shown to exhibit a wide range of behaviors, which reflect the diversity in their chemical compositions, and many are expected to undergo reactive dissolution processes that will be key to understanding their behaviors and interpreting biological response data. The review concludes with a series of recommendations for high-priority research subtopics at the “bio-nanosheet” interface that we hope will enable safe and successful development of technologies related to two-dimensional nanomaterials.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Sustainable Nanotechnology