Nanophase Technologies Corporation has announced commercial availability of bismuth oxide nanomaterials. The new bismuth oxide product is produced using NanoArc™ Synthesis technology, the Company’s most advanced nanomaterials manufacturing process. Bismuth oxide is incorporated into specialty polymers and materials for bone implants, dental prosthetic devices, catheters, sutures and surgical instruments to make them detectable by X-rays without the toxicity or carcinogenicity associated with other heavy metals. When incorporated into other plastics, benefits such as X-ray detection of toys and objects swallowed by children, or X-ray detection of plastic firearms at airport security stations, can be achieved.
Dr. Ed Ludwig, Nanophase’s Vice President of Business Development, stated, "We are very excited about our capability to commercially produce and supply high quality bismuth oxide nanoparticles. This marks Nanophase’s entrée into the medical appliance industry and is another example of the use of nanotechnology to provide technology solutions in important applications in mainstay industries. Bismuth oxide has been used extensively for years in the medical appliance industry to impart X-ray opacity. As parts become smaller and thinner, it is difficult to incorporate bismuth oxide to achieve X-ray opacity without deteriorating the physical properties of the plastic or composite part. Because nanoparticles are so small, they can be incorporated at levels that provide the needed X-ray opacity without significantly affecting rheology, physical properties or surface characteristics."
Other applications for bismuth oxide include ceramic additives for varistors that are used for electrical surge protectors, additives to reduce processing temperatures for high-temperature ceramics that are used in gas and fluid detectors to improve automotive fuel efficiency and reduce smog, additives into optical glass formulations to increase refractive index and specific gravity, and as an additive in a variety of medical creams and ointments.