Boron nitride nanomaterials: Biocompatibility and bio-applications
Boron nitride has structural characteristics similar to carbon 2D materials (graphene and its derivatives) and its layered structure has been exploited to form different nanostructures such as nanohorns, nanotubes, nanoparticles and nanosheets. Unlike graphene and other carbon based 2D materials, boron nitride has a higher chemical stability. Owing to these properties, boron nitride has been used in different applications as a filler, lubricant and as a protective coating. Boron nitride has also been applied in the biomedical field to some extent, but far less than other 2D carbon materials. This review explores the potential of boron nitride for biomedical applications where the focus is on boron nitride biocompatibility in vivo and in vitro, its applicability as a coating material/composite and its anti-bacterial properties. Geometry, material processing and the type of biological analysis appear to be relevant parameters in assessing boron nitride bio-compatibility. Engineering of both these variables and the coating would open the door for some applications in the medical field for boron nitride, such as drug delivery, imaging and cell stimulation.