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Term Definition

A substance, an organism or a radiation that causes or promotes cancer.

Cell Penetration Capacity

The property of nanomaterials to penetrate cell walls or membranes due to their small size.


Denotes a slowly occurring or long-lasting effect (e.g. toxic effects occurring only after long exposure time or a protracted inflammation).


In medicine, it is a measurement of the excretion ability of certain organs like the kidneys or the liver. It corresponds to the calculated plasma volume per unit of time [ml/min], which was cleared of a particular substance.


describes a complex model system for the simultaneous cultivation of different cell types which mimics the interaction of the cell types in the natural environment (organs, body). A well-known example for this are lung models that consist of lung epithelial cells, macrophages, endothelial cells and further immunocompetent cells as these are present in the lung as well.


Is a covering that is applied as a thin film to the surface of an object, e.g. nanoparticles. Coatings are applied to improve surface properties of the nanoparticles, such as solubility, adhesion, wetability, and corrosion resistance, and to reduce dissolution of ions. Frequently used coatings in nanotechnology include polymers, lipids (medical applications) or metals (catalysts).


Very small solid particles (typically smaller than 10 µm) suspended in a solvent. Compared with solids in suspensions, solids in a colloid do not precipitate, i.e. do not sink to the bottom of a vessel. In liquids, colloids are recognized by clouding and/or the so-called Tyndall effect.


Collective term for measures related to volume, e.g. g/ml, kg/l, g/cm3. Due to their high surface/volume ratio, for nanoparticles instead of mass-related, surface-related concentration ranges, e.g. cm2/ml is frequently used.

Crystal structure

Describes the regular arrangement of atoms or molecules in a crystal lattice. Different lattice structures of the same material (e.g. titanium dioxide) give nanoparticles different chemical and physical properties (e.g. photocatalytic activity).


Is referred to as the entire living content of a cell, which is enclosed to the outside by the cell membrane.


Also intracellular fluid or cytoplasmic matrix; cytosol is referred to as the liquid components of the cytoplasm of cells. The cytosol consists of water and therein dissolved ions, small molecules and larger water-soluble molecules, such as proteins.


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