Around the globe, surges of bacterial diseases are causing serious health threats and related concerns. Recently, the metal ion release and photodynamic and photothermal effects of nanomaterials were demonstrated to have substantial efficiency in eliminating resistance and surges of bacteria. Nanomaterials with characteristics such as surface plas-monic resonance, photocatalysis, structural complexities, and optical features have been utilized to control metal ion release, generate reactive oxygen species, and produce heat for antibacterial applications. The superior characteristics of nanomaterials present an oppor-tunity to explore and enhance their antibacterial activities leading to clinical applications. In this review, we comprehensively list three different antibacterial mechanisms of metal ion release, photodynamic therapy, and photothermal therapy based on nanomaterials. These three different antibacterial mechanisms are divided into their respective subgroups in accordance with recent achievements, showcasing prospective challenges and opportunities in clinical, environmental, and related fields.
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