Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility

© 2003 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 2003


15.1 Are Diamondoid Nanorobots Hazardous?

It is believed that one of the most common building materials for medical nanorobots will ultimately be diamond or diamondoid substances (Chapters 2 and 11). The first and most obvious question regarding biocompatibility thus must be: What health risks, if any, are associated with the in vivo use of diamondoid devices or their detached parts, components, or detritus? There may be billions or trillions of nanorobots employed during a nanomedical procedure, and conservatively it must be presumed that some small unavoidable amount of in vivo nanorobot detritus (e.g., detached nanorobot manipulators, tool tips, or sensor elements, fragmented devices, or even nonfunctional whole nanorobots) might be generated during this activity.

Leaving aside the question of the chemical inertness of nanorobot components until later (e.g., Sections, 15.4.4, etc.), other possible avenues for mischief are conceivable. Using information ranging from historical anecdotes to modern clinical reports, Chapter 15.1 briefly explores two of these avenues: the potential for crude mechanical damage to human tissues caused by the ingestion (Section 15.1.1) or inhalation (Section 15.1.2) of diamond or related particles. Similar mechanical damage to vascular, membrane, and organ systems likewise cannot be ruled out (Chapter 15.5). A study to rigorously assess the mechanical toxicity in human tissues of diamond dust and fractured diamond particles, as crude proxies for medical nanorobotic diamondoid detritus, appears warranted.


Last updated on 30 April 2004