Viruses have long been studied as pathogens, with the goal of understanding viral infection and disease. More recently viruses have begun to be regarded as building blocks and tools for nanotechnology. Viruses are exploited as platforms; that is, they are used as templates or scaffolds for the design of novel nanomaterials. A wide variety of viral platforms have been studied and utilized for applications ranging from materials to medicine. This chapter will provide an introduction to the role of viral nanoparticles (VNPs) in nanotechnology.

Keywords: viral nanoparticles, nanoobjects, biological nanomaterials, virus-like particles, viral nanotechnology, icosahedral viruses, rod-shaped viruses, functionalization, particle stability, structural symmetry, polyvalency