Forget mirror manicure, soon you will be able to paint your nails with real silver, platinum and gold for healthier fingertips.
A team of researchers has now developed a new way to add the metals to nail polish with minimal additives, resulting in durable, tinted and potentially antibacterial nail colouring.
Nail polish comes in a bewildering array of colours. Current colouring techniques commonly incorporate pigment powders and additives. Scientists have recently started exploring the use of nanoparticles in polishes and have found that they can improve their durability and, in the case of silver nanoparticles, can treat fungal toenail infections.
Marcus Lau, Friedrich Waag and Stephan Barcikowski wanted to see if they could come up with a simple way to integrate metal nanoparticles in nail polish.
The researchers started with store-bought bottles of clear, colourless nail polish and added small pieces of silver, gold, platinum or an alloy to them. To break the metals into nanoparticles, they shone a laser on them in short bursts over 15 minutes.
Analysis showed that the method resulted in a variety of coloured, transparent polishes with a metallic sheen. The researchers also used laser ablation to produce a master batch of metal nanoparticles in ethyl acetate, a polish thinner, which could then be added to individual bottles of polish.
This could help boost the amount of production for commercialization. The researchers said that the technique could also be used to create coatings for medical devices.
The study appears in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry.