Biomedical Applications of Carbon Nanomaterials: Fullerenes, Quantum Dots, Nanotubes, Nanofibers, and Graphene
Carbon nanomaterials (CNMs) have received tremendous interest in the area of nanotechnology due to their unique properties and flexible dimensional structure. CNMs have excellent electrical, thermal, and optical properties that make them promising materials for drug delivery, bioimaging, biosensing, and tissue engineering applications. Currently, there are many types of CNMs, such as quantum dots, nanotubes, nanosheets, and nanoribbons; and there are many others in development that promise exciting applications in the future. The surface functionalization of CNMs modifies their chemical and physical properties, which enhances their drug loading/release capacity, their ability to target drug delivery to specific sites, and their dispersibility and suitability in biological systems. Thus, CNMs have been effectively used in different biomedical systems. This review explores the unique physical, chemical, and biological properties that allow CNMs to improve on the state of the art materials currently used in different biomedical applications. The discussion also embraces the emerging biomedical applications of CNMs, including targeted drug delivery, medical implants, tissue engineering, wound healing, biosensing, bioimaging, vaccination, and photodynamic therapy.