The nanomaterials and the LALE tech

Like many other synthesis techniques used to build nanostructured materials, the LALE technique also presents some drawbacks. First of all, it is important to highlight that during the chemical synthesis, metal precursors, reductant agents and stabilizing chemicals, are present all together in the synthesis solution with the aim to ensure stable chemical-synthesized colloids. Nevertheless, many of these products and/or byproducts may produce adverse effects on human health. Standards and regulations establish that such potentially harmful chemicals must be separated and removed from the final nanocolloids before their final utilization.

Overall, LALE technique presents the lower risk and environmental impact, due to the fact that both metal precursors and reductants are not needed. Moreover, nanocolloids offer higher levels of purity in comparison with conventional chemical synthesis methods (Sportelli et al., 2018). The technique not only avoids the utilizations of reductants but also can fragment metal targets without recurring to capping agents (Akter et al., 2018). This processing feature makes the LALE technique intrinsically safer than conventional methods by dramatically reducing the risk of contamination of the nanocolloids.

Furthermore, in the use of the obtained nanostructured materials for antimicrobial applications, nanoparticles generated using the LALE technique demonstrate a lack of ligands and typical stabilizers on their surface, hence exhibiting higher reactivity and antimicrobial effects in comparison other chemicals (Kaphle et al., 2018). Even a step beyond, nanoparticles created based on LALE technique can be conjugated in situ with biomolecules, thus undergoing a more efficient performance than nanomaterials conjugated ex situ (Sportelli et al., 2016).

Conversely, the main drawbacks of LALE technique are related to high investment and operative costs due to the utilization of a particularly expensive laser system, as well as, the considerable amounts of energy required to obtain good ablation efficiency.