Carbon nanotubes: properties, applications and toxicity

Miruna Silvia Stan, Mădălina Andreea Badea, Alina F.G. Strugari    Published online: 2 February 2019

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Abstract Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are represented by sheets of graphite with tubular shape, that possess excellent mechanical strength and elasticity. They are highly investigated worldwide and outstanding properties and applications in biological and medical domains were reported since their discovery in 1991. The most important details regarding the history, types, structure, synthesis and properties of CNTs are highlighted in this review. The functionalization represents a process required to increase the solubility and biocompatibility of CNTs by adding hydrophilic groups on their surface. Drug delivery represents one of the most important applications in medicine of CNTs, being used as transporters for various biological molecules. Despite the tremendous achievements obtained for the biomedical applications, the cytotoxicity of CNTs remains a debate issue, being influenced by various factors, such as presence of impurities, functionalization, diameter, concentration, exposure time and cell type.


Keywords carbon nanotubes, properties, functionalization, drug delivery, cytotoxicity


Corresponding author: Miruna Silvia Stan, E-mail:

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