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The nanomaterials making the greatest initial commercial impact are the less exotic but more widely used nano-scale oxides and metals. Silica, titanium dioxide, alumina, iron oxide, zinc oxide and other nano-scale versions of conventional materials are now finding use in cosmetics, paint, construction materials and electronic equipment. Eventually, these materials will also be widely used in such applications as drug delivery systems, creating opportunities for safer and more effective dosages of medication to treat cancer and other diseases. In the next decade or two, some of the relatively novel nanomaterials, such as nanotubes and dendrimers, will account for a larger share of overall nanomaterial usage.
Although the electronics market is currently the largest outlet for nanomaterials, it is anticipated that health care applications will eventually be the leading global market, reaching $50 billion by 2025. Use of nanomaterials in health care will be concentrated in the U.S. and Western Europe, where a large share of the world’s pharmaceutical products are manufactured. France and Switzerland are among the countries at the forefront of the development of nanomaterial use in pharmaceutical applications.
Electronics will remain the leading outlet for nanomaterials in the Asia/Pacific region, as a large and ever-growing proportion of electronics production occurs there. Although Japan is currently the largest market in Asia for nanomaterials, China is the fastest growing market and will eventually become the largest in the region.
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