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Nanoparticles are the fundamental components of the broad field of nanotechnology. Nanoparticles are microscopic particles with sizes ranging from 1nm to 100nm. The properties of the material change as their size approaches the nanoscale. The optical characteristics of nanoparticles are often surprising, and are one of their fundamental attractions. For example, gold nanoparticles have a wine red color as opposed to the traditional yellow. An inorganic nanotube is a cylindrical molecule often composed of metal oxides, or group III-Nitrides and morphologically similar to a carbon nanotube. Inorganic nanotubes have been observed to occur naturally in some mineral deposits. Examples include: tungsten (IV) sulfide (WS2), molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), and tin (IV) sulfide (SnS2).
Nanoparticles have sparked much interest among researchers due to their unique characteristic of being a bridge between bulk materials and atomic or molecular structures. Nanoparticles and nanocomposites are used in a wide range of applications such as catalysis, agriculture, semiconductor devices, optoelectronic devices, optics, medicine, cosmetics, textiles, aerospace, and construction. Nanoparticles can be incorporated into polymeric nanocomposites. Polymeric nanocomposites consisting of inorganic nanoparticles and organic polymers represent a new class of materials that exhibit improved performance compared to their microparticle counterparts. The highly versatile multifunctional mesoporous silica nanoparticles are used in drug delivery, magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging, magnetic manipulation, and cell targeting.