nano·​par·​ti·​cle | \ ˈna-nə-ˌpär-ti-kəl How to pronounce nanoparticle (audio) , ˈna-nō- \

Definition of nanoparticle

: a microscopic particle whose size is measured in nanometers

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Nanoparticles of a material usually have very different qualities from those that the material has at its ordinary scale, which is one reason why there's such excitement about the possibilities for how they might be used in future technologies. Many uses have already been developed. Aluminum nanoparticles added to rocket fuel can make the fuel burn twice as fast and release much more energy. Silicon nanoparticles are increasing the energy efficiency of solar cells by allowing the energy from ultraviolet light to be captured for the first time. Other nanoparticles are now helping prevent rust in metals, produce stronger batteries, enhance the diagnosis of cancer, and improve the filtering of water, and the number of other applications is growing fast.

Examples of nanoparticle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the lipid nanoparticle itself is exquisitely sensitive to temperature. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight," 18 Nov. 2020 Like Moderna’s vaccine, BNT162b2 uses a fatty nanoparticle wrapping to deliver a fragment of genetic code—in the form of messenger RNA, or mRNA—from the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, into human cells. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Here’s everything you need to know about Pfizer’s positive vaccine news," 9 Nov. 2020 Such vaccines are made of genetic material that needs to be protected by a lipid nanoparticle before it can be injected into patients. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "If One Leading Coronavirus Vaccine Works, Thank This Tiny Firm in Rural Austria," 6 Nov. 2020 In one study, researchers attached the gene-editing technology CRISPR/CAS 9 to a nanoparticle to disrupt the gene for mGluR5 receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate, implicated in fragile X syndrome and other forms of autism. Lydia Denworth, Science | AAAS, "Is gene therapy ready to treat some forms of autism?," 14 Oct. 2020 To get a naked strand of mRNA inside a cell, scientists have learned to encase it in a package called a lipid nanoparticle. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "The Most Complicated Vaccine Campaign in History," 28 Sep. 2020 Novavax’s vaccine approach is what’s known as a recombinant nanoparticle vaccine used in combination with a proprietary adjuvant, a compound that boosts the immune response. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Novavax, maker of a Covid-19 vaccine, is backed by Operation Warp Speed," 7 July 2020 That nanoparticle with the spikes on top is the first part of the vaccine. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "US taxpayers are funding six Covid vaccines. Here's how they work," 22 June 2020 The scientists then put the spikes on top of a very small particle called a nanoparticle. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "US taxpayers are funding six Covid vaccines. Here's how they work," 22 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nanoparticle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nanoparticle

1983, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for nanoparticle

Time Traveler

The first known use of nanoparticle was in 1983

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Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nanoparticle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for nanoparticle


nano·​par·​ti·​cle | \ -ˌpärt-i-kəl How to pronounce nanoparticle (audio) \

Medical Definition of nanoparticle

: a microscopic particle whose size is measured in nanometers drugs bound to biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles

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