Carbon nanotubes are already a major tool in bioscience research. In addition, these particles are finding themselves as a central component for production of variety of consumer products, from cosmetics to specialized plastics. Because of their intrinsic toxicity, though, there are still numerous questions about the safety of carbon nanotubes and how they’re processed by the human body.
Nanowerk has recently spotlighted work by Indian scientists at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai that created a method that uses optical tweezers to remove carbon nanotubes out of body fluids.
"We have succeeded in using a low-power infrared laser in an optical tweezers set-up to generate micro-bubbles in flowing, biologically-relevant fluids, including human whole blood," Deepak Mathur, a Senior Professor in Atomic & Molecular Sciences at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, tells Nanowerk. "These micro-bubbles are formed upon very localized heating of small bundles of carbon nanotubes that are suspended in the flowing fluid. The localized nature of the heating causes enormous temperature gradients to be set up in the fluid and these, in turn, set up surface tension gradients that give rise to complex flow patterns in the immediate vicinity of the microbubble. A consequence of this is that proximate CNTs are attracted towards the microbubble and appear to "adhere" to the bubble surface."
Read on at Nanowerk: Microbubble scavengers can remove carbon nanotubes from the body…
Abstract in Nanotechnology: Optical-tweezer-induced microbubbles as scavengers of carbon nanotubes