Netzwerk Nanosilber

Potential of nano silver

What is nano silver?

Nano means an order of magnitude. A nanometre (nm) equals a billionth metre. Nano silver describes particles of metallic silver with a size of 1-100 nm in at least one dimension.

Nano silver particles may form and degrade spontaneously in nature [1-4] or can be produced artificially [5-7].

The nano scale increases the surface per volume unit and thus leads to increased chemical, biological and catalytic activity. Due to the larger surface, more reactive silver ions can be released. The beneficial surface-volume-ratio leads to a higher effect at lower raw materials use. See frequently asked questions for more information.

Technical potential of nano silver

The special physical-chemical properties of nano silver lead to new potentials and applications.


Antimicrobial effect of nano silver

The antimicrobial effect of silver is based on its activity towards a wide range of – even multi-resistant – bacteria, yeasts, fungi and viruses. The effect is based on the formation of silver ions (Ag+) at the surface of silver nanoparticles. The silver ions act on unicellular organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi and viruses, in various manners according to the current state of knowledge. See frequently asked questions for more information.

Electrical and heat conductivity

Silver is the element with the highest heat and electrical conductivity in the periodic table [8]. In the form of tiny nano silver, these properties can be used in a material-saving manner for electronics, e.g. for transparent but electrically conductive films.

Optical effects

Silver and gold nanoparticles have special optical properties. Both precious metals are highly efficient in light absorption and scattering at a nano scale. These properties may be used for sensors or in spectroscopy [9].

Catalytic activity

The high surface of silver-nanoparticles as compared to their volume offers a high surface reactivity that can be used for adsorption and catalysis. The silver nanoparticles are often applied to a carrier material [11] and used e.g. in the chemical industry.


1) N. Akaighe et al., Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011, 45, 3895-3901.

2) Y.G. Yin et al., ACS Nano, 2012, 6, 7910-7919.

3) R.D. Glover et al., ACS Nano, 2011, 5, 8950-8957.

4) J.L. Gardea-Torresdey et al., Langmuir, 2003, 19, 1357-1361.

5) U. Nickel et al., Langmuir, 2000, 16, 9087-9091.

6) N. Shirtcliffe et al., J. Colloid Interface Sci., 1999, 211, 122-129.

7) Saito, Y. et al., Langmuir, 2003, 19, 6857-6861.

8) N. Kanani, Galvanotechnik, Hanser Verlag, 2009, 697-699.

9) G. Doria et al., Sensors, 2012, 12, 1657-1687.

10) YJ. Oh, KH. Jeong, Adv. Mater., 2012, 24, 2234-2237.

11) S.J.Yu et al., Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013, 15, 78-92.