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1. Introduction

1 Silver Nanoparticles

Hassan Korbekandi1 and Siavash Iravani2

1Genetics and Molecular Biology Department, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences 2School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences Iran

Nanotechnology is an important field of modern research dealing with design, synthesis, and manipulation of particles structure ranging from approximately 1-100 nm. Tremendous growth in this emerging technology has opened novel fundamental and applied frontiers, including the synthesis of nanoscale materials and exploration or utilization of their exotic physicochemical and optoelectronic properties. Nanotechnology is rapidly gaining importance in a number of areas such as health care, cosmetics, food and feed, environmental health, mechanics, optics, biomedical sciences, chemical industries, electronics, space industries, drug-gene delivery, energy science, optoelectronics, catalysis, reorography, single electron transistors, light emitters, nonlinear optical devices, and photo- electrochemical applications (Colvin et al. 1994; Wang and Herron 1991; Schmid 1992; Hoffman et al. 1992; Hamilton and Baetzold 1979; Mansur et al. 1995).

Silver nanoparticles are of interest because of the unique properties (e.g., size and shape depending optical, electrical, and magnetic properties) which can be incorporated into antimicrobial applications, biosensor materials, composite fibers, cryogenic superconducting materials, cosmetic products, and electronic components. Several physical and chemical methods have been used for synthesizing and stabilizing silver nanoparticles (Senapati 2005; Klaus-Joerger et al. 2001). The most popular chemical approaches, including chemical reduction using a variety of organic and inorganic reducing agents, electrochemical techniques, physicochemical reduction, and radiolysis are widely used for the synthesis of silver nanoparticles. Recently, nanoparticle synthesis is among the most interesting scientific areas of inquiry, and there is growing attention to produce nanoparticles using environmentally friendly methods (green chemistry). Green synthesis approaches include mixed-valence polyoxometalates, polysaccharides, Tollens, biological, and irradiation method which have advantages over conventional methods involving chemical agents associated with environmental toxicity. This chapter presents an overview of silver nanoparticle preparation by physical, chemical, and green synthesis approaches. The aim of this chapter is, therefore, to reflect on the current state and future prospects, especially the potentials and limitations of the above mentioned techniques for industries. Moreover, we discuss the applications of silver nanoparticles and their incorporation into other materials, the mechanistic aspects of the antimicrobial effects of silver nanoparticles.

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