Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 35, 2018
Previous Article Next Article

Recent advances in the field of transition metal dichalcogenides for biomedical applications

Author affiliations


Nanosheets of transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDs), the graphene-like two-dimensional (2D) materials, exhibit a unique combination of properties and have attracted enormous research interest for a wide range of applications including catalysis, functional electronics, solid lubrication, photovoltaics, energy materials and most recently in biomedical applications. Their potential for use in biosensors, drug delivery, multimodal imaging, antimicrobial agents and tissue engineering is being actively studied. However, the commercial translation of exfoliated TMDs has been limited due to the low aqueous solubility, non-uniformity, lack of control over the layer thickness, and the long-term colloidal stability of the exfoliated material. There is wide interest in the synthesis and exfoliation of TMDs resulting in the reporting of increasing numbers of new methods and their biomedical applications. The unique physicochemical characteristics of the TMD nanosheets have been exploited to tether them with biological payload to achieve selective localized delivery in vivo. The large surface-to-volume ratio, good cytocompatibility, ease of surface modification, tunable bandgap, strong spin–orbit coupling, and high optical and thermal conversion efficiency of TMD nanosheets make them favorable over traditional nanomaterials for biomedical research. Moreover, the presence of abundant active edge sites on the 2D TMDs makes them suitable for catalytic activities, while the large surface area and the interspace between layers are particularly conducive to ion or small molecule intercalation, making them useful for energy storage applications with rapid redox reaction capabilities. One of the major limitations of the exfoliated TMDs has been their limited colloidal stability in aqueous media. In this review, we summarize the recent advances in the exfoliation and synthesis of single-layered TMDs, their biomedical efficacy in terms of cytotoxicity, combinatorial therapy and diagnostic imaging, as well as antimicrobial activity. We highlight the current challenges in the field and propose strategies for the future.

Graphical abstract: Recent advances in the field of transition metal dichalcogenides for biomedical applications

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 27 May 2018, accepted on 09 Aug 2018 and first published on 10 Aug 2018

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR04284E
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018,10, 16365-16397

  •   Request permissions

    Recent advances in the field of transition metal dichalcogenides for biomedical applications

    V. Agarwal and K. Chatterjee, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 16365
    DOI: 10.1039/C8NR04284E

Search articles by author