Nanophase Technologies Corporation have announced the commercial availability of doped zinc oxide nanomaterials. The zinc oxide dopants include aluminum, copper, and silver at dopant levels ranging from several ppms to several percent. Doped zinc oxide nanomaterials are targeted at a wide variety of potential applications including antimicrobial agents (antifungal, antibacterial, and antifouling), opto-electronics, and tailored UV absorption.
Dr. Ed Ludwig, Nanophase’s Vice President of Business Development, stated, "Zinc oxide based materials are known to offer significant benefits as antimicrobial agents. They have demonstrated antimicrobial activity, are non-irritating, and absorb moisture and odors. Their thermal stability imparts permanence to their activity and enables these materials to be incorporated into plastics and on surfaces that experience extreme processing or harsh application environments – yet they remain active. In addition they are GRAS (‘generally regarded as safe’) materials."
Dr. Ludwig also believes that doped zinc oxides may have applications as opto-electronic materials. Zinc oxide is a semiconductor; doping zinc oxide allows the band gap to be changed – affecting the optical (absorption of UV radiation), electrical, and magnetic material properties. While still early in application development, the Company is interested in the potential to tailor doping levels of zinc oxide to nanoengineer materials for targeted applications, including semi-insulating substrates, UV LEDs, laser diodes, photodetectors, and conductive materials.
Nanophase’s doped zinc oxides are non-porous, dense, discrete, homogeneous, single-phase crystals. Doped zinc oxide nanomaterials are commercially produced using Nanophase’s patented PVS technology at varying compositions, which are adjusted to meet specific application requirements, in discrete nanoparticle size ranges less than 100 nanometers.