Nanomaterial science and design have shifted from generating single passive nanoparticles to more complex and adaptive multi-component nanohybrids. These adaptive nanohybrids (ANHs) are designed to simultaneously perform multiple functions, while actively responding to the surrounding environment. ANHs are engineered for use as drug delivery carriers, in tissue-engineered templates and scaffolds, adaptive clothing, smart surface coatings, electrical switches and in platforms for diversified functional applications. Such ANHs are composed of carbonaceous, metallic or polymeric materials with stimuli-responsive soft-layer coatings that enable them to perform such switchable functions. Since ANHs are engineered to dynamically transform under different exposure environments, evaluating their environmental behavior will likely require new approaches. Literature on polymer science has established a knowledge core on stimuli-responsive materials. However, translation of such knowledge to environmental health and safety (EHS) of these ANHs has not yet been realized. It is critical to investigate and categorize the potential hazards of ANHs, because exposure in an unintended or shifting environment could present uncertainty in EHS. This article presents a perspective on EHS evaluation of ANHs, proposes a principle to facilitate their identification for environmental evaluation, outlines a stimuli-based classification for ANHs and discusses emerging properties and dynamic aspects for systematic EHS evaluation.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited