Nano metals, also known as metal nanoparticles, are individual molecules that are very attractive due to their size and shape-dependent properties and possess unique chemical and physical properties. From the plethora of existing methods for the synthesis of nano metals, the most widely used method is wet-chemical, which is considered suitable for the production of both spherical and anisometric (rod-like or prismatic) metal nanoparticles.
The optical properties, both linear and nonlinear, are spectacular and have boosted a great deal of excitement during the last few decades. These have numerous applications across various industries, such as healthcare and pharmaceutical, automotive, and construction. In the healthcare industry, it is used in applications such as cardiovascular disorders, chemotherapy drugs, anti-infective, neurology, and others. Furthermore, these are widely in electronics and electrical applications, such as in film transistors, solar cells, and supercapacitors due to their high conductivity and better physical-chemical stability.
The increasing use of nonmetals in various industrial and domestic applications, along with the rise in advancements in nanotechnology, is creating lucrative opportunities for players operating in the nano-metals market. The versatile properties of nano-materials, such as high tensile strength, excellent electrical conductivity, ability to work in high working temperatures, have surged their application across various industries. However, the high capital cost required for nanometals is expected to restrict the growth of this market.
The demand for gold nanometals in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is expected to boost the growth of the nano-metals market during the forecast period. They are used as contrast agents in dentistry in the optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique. It helps in picturing structures in a non-destructive and non-invasive manner with the development of gold nanoparticles within dentinal tubules and layers.
The use of gold nano metals offers various advantages in dentistry, such as the thermal destruction of cancer cells and bacteria, which is likely to increase its demand. In addition to this, the use of gold nano metals in sensors that are primarily used to spot metal ions for environmental monitoring and human healthcare drives the market growth.
As per the World Gold Council, in the U.K., the gold metal nanoparticles or nano metal market is projected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 18.84%, primarily driven by the increasing demand for medical applications. Some of the improvements related to gold nano metals include colorimetric, fluorescence, and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensing, which is anticipated to boost the demand for gold nano metals and the global nano metals market.
The silver nanometal segment holds the largest market share during the forecast period. The presence of various nanotechnology-based products and growing demand for silver drives the segment growth. As per the report shared by the Silver Institute, in the U.S, the world silver demand rose by 0.4% in 2019 to 991.8Moz (30,848t), and industrial fabrication was nearly unchanged y/y in 2019. In addition to this, it is an excellent antimicrobial agent, which is why it is used as an alternative disinfectant agent. It is also used in many textiles, wound dressings, keyboards, and biomedical devices, which continuously release a low level of silver ions in order to provide protection against bacteria.
The increasing usage of silver nonmetals in the electronics industry, along with growing antimicrobial applications in the pharmaceutical and the medical sectors, boost the growth of this segment. Due to its superior properties, such as small size, stability, and high conductivity have increased its applications in areas such as hairdryer, socks, water, and air purifier, conductive inks, pastes, fillers, washing machines, medical devices, and food packaging. Moreover, these can also be used as substitutes as carbon nanotubes, graphene, indium tin oxide, and conventional silver in LCDs, OLEDs, and smartphones.
The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry segments dominate the market. The silver and gold nanometals are effective in inhibiting the growth of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and are, therefore, extensively used as a novel antibiotic agent. It is used in image-guided in-vivo therapies as well as in in-vitro techniques for detecting changes in organs and tissues and diagnosing chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, neuropathy, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis.
The increasing demand for innovative drugs and target-specific diagnosis and therapeutics boosts the growth of this segment. The segment is dominating because of its applications in the field of targeted drug delivery, nanorobots for surgery, nanodiagnostics, nanobiosensors, imaging, and cell repair. These also have great efficacy against viruses, bacteria, and other eukaryotic microorganisms. Furthermore, the surface of some of these nonmetals can be modified with the help of some specialty polymers, such as polyethylene glycol (PEG), which increases its stability in different physiological conditions.
North America holds the largest market share based on the presence of some of the key players, such as American Elements, Nanoshel, and Meliorum, and massive government support to increase innovations in novel nonmetals. In addition to this, the advancements in technologies and an increase in research and development drive the regional market growth.
The increasing population in the region is leading to the growth of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries due to an increase in the number of diseases and health issues, coupled with growing consumer spending. The high disposable income of the population has led to an improved standard of living and the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle. This has increased the consumption of convenience food and beverages, further rising the demand for alcoholic drinks and sugar concentrated confectionary items and increasing the prevalence of oral diseases.
The rise in the number of installations of photovoltaic cells in this region is further expected to increase the demand for nanometals. As per the data shared by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the total installed P.V. capacity in the U.S reached 51.5 GW and accounted for a market share of 12.7% in the year 2017.