The agreement covers ten patents that will also affect other areas, including agriculture, electronics and local drug delivery. "This agreement is a great milestone for us," said Cathy Fleischer, president and chief technical officer of NaturalNano. "It represents another step in our strategic plan to commercialize products across a diverse range of markets and to solidify our position as a leader in advanced nanomaterials." The agreement means that NaturalNano can tap into the US Naval Laboratory's extensive expertise in the field of nanotechnology research, which incorportates the Nanoscience Institute - established in 2001 to conduct multidisciplinary research within this area. The company currently has more than 25 patents or pending applications for control-released nanomaterials, which it either exclusively owns or has licensed out. The company's research and development has focused on nanotubes, including naturally occurring nanotubes found in halloysite (HNT), which have a unique hollow-tube structure that allows chemicals, additives or other materials to be placed inside the tubes, creating a slow or controlled release of the materials. For cosmetic and toiletry products, the development of nanomaterials for formulations has proved particularly useful to improve the efficacy of sunscreen, anti-aging products and fragrances. NaturalNano's technology should prove particularly useful for sunscreen products as it allows for the slow release of active ingredients, allowing the product to last longer. It is also useful in anti-aging formulations, as the technology enables the smaller particles to penetrate deeper into the skin's dermal layers, allowing for greater and longer-lasting efficacy. For fragrance products nanotechnology has proved useful in the development of scents with time-controlled release, which means they can last longer and be used to maintain a more constant odor, as opposed to one that is strong immediately after application, but then evaporates quickly. The inventory on nano-based consumer products, compiled by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Centers, was updated earlier this month, with health and beauty coming out as one of the biggest product categories to use nanotechnology. It revealed that the number of personal care products using nanotechnology has risen to 85 from 58 when it was launched in March 2006. The cosmetic product count, which the center differentiates from personal care products, rose also to 89 from 75 and sunscreens to 27 from 18. With The Nanotech Report: 4th Edition, by Lux Research, indicating that the market for nanotechnology manufactured goods is set to be worth $2.6 trillion by the year 2015, all the indications are that this is an area that is set to boom in the coming years.