Hitchhiking of Nanoparticles along strands of hair

Image: Fabiano Emmanuel Montoro/LNNano, CNPEM

Nanotechnology is a booming field in past decades and it continues to grow in both research and technology.

Nanotechnology is a science, engineering, and technology of shaping the materials at nanometer scale which is 1-100 nm and deals with the study and application of nanomaterials which can encompass across various other science fields such as chemistry, physics, biology, material science, and engineering.

“Nanotechnology happens on a molecular level and it can help your hair tremendously.”


Molecular nanotechnology renews, restores and rejuvenates your damaged hair. This delivers deep, penetrating ingredients which will help to de-tangle, repair, shine, rich moisture and strengthen the hair, protects hair from UV rays damage, also provide thermal protection from flat irons and curling iron three times the strength of using a conditioner alone

Vegetable proteins strengthen and restore your hair, while provides maximum color protection – together creating the most effective restorative treatment available.

Using nanoemulsions to encapsulate active ingredients and carry them deeper into hair shafts.  Examples of new nanotechnology applications in personal care products include from the IEHN report “Beneath the Skin: Hidden Liabilities, Market Risk and Drivers of Change in the Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Industry” (pdf).

“In shampoo ads, hair always looks like a shiny, smooth surface. But for physicists peering into microscopes, the surface looks much more rugged, as it is made of saw-tooth, ratchet-like scales.”

Recently in a new theoretical study two scientists, Radtke and Netz have demonstrated that massaging hair can help to apply drug treatment — encapsulated in nanoparticles trapped in the channels formed around individual hairs — to the roots.

This is because the oscillatory movement of the massaging directs the way these particles are transported.

Simulation of transport along hair surface. Source: Springer

Jürgen Lademann, a dermatologist at the Charité clinic in Berlin, Germany, and his team previously discovered this phenomenon in experiments on pork skin samples.They demonstrated that at the microscopic scale the transport on microtubules takes place in two directions between the cells within our body.

Transporting of nanoparticles along hair surface into wrong places could cause damage to the hairs but these findings could also help find ways of preventing harmful nanoparticles transportation

In their work, a movement simulation model of the nanoparticles between two surfaces is created and they found that nanoparticles moved in an oscillatory fashion from one surface to another surface.

They demonstrated that if the hair is massaged, due to “ratchet” mechanism, channels created between individual hairs and the surrounding skin lead to nanoparticles being sucked into hair follicles.

Further, they also studied that varying the driving frequency, particle size, and the amplitude of the corrugated surface so that the optimal transport could be achieved. They found that when the oscillation switches from perpendicular to parallel to the resting surface the ratchet effect switches from a flashing to a pushing effect. But in parallel oscillatory motion, the nanoparticles speed and ability to diffuse are greatly enhanced.

Journal Reference: Matthias Radtke, Roland R. Netz. Ratchet effect for two-dimensional nanoparticle motion in a corrugated oscillating channel. The European Physical Journal E, 2016; 39 (11) DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2016-16116-4 published by Springer

Source Springer IEHN

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