A team of scientists at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Genoa, Italy, have created paper that is waterproof, magnetic and antibacterial.
Dr. Roberto Cingolani, who's the Scientific Director at the IIIT, and his team have created a process which takes place on the molecular level to create paper with special properties. The scientists bond specific nanoparticles to single molecules in paper, which then creates a polymer. The polymer is dispersed in a solution and then injected into any non-woven material like fabrics or paper. The special properties of the material are dependent on the nanoparticles that are added to the polymer matrix, with iron oxide nanoparticles bestowing magnetic properties to paper, while silver nanoparticles provide antibacterial properties.
This discovery will have many potential uses, as Dr. Cingolani has stated that antibacterial paper can be used for food packaging and medical applications, while waterproof paper can be used to print important documents such as cultural heritage documents.