Biologists, and diatomists in particular, have long studied the properties of single-cell algae, and engineers are just discovering how to exploit features unique to these organisms. Their uni- form nanopore structure, microchannels, chemical inertness, and silica microcrystal structure suggest many nanoscale applications. This paper proposes three potential research initiatives taking advantage of diatom morphology and mechanical and chemical properties: (1) embedding diatom frustules in a metal-film membrane; (2) magnetizing frustules for pinpoint drug delivery; and (3) producing silica nanopowders from frustules. The potential benefits of each initiative and its technical challenges are outlined.
Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.