The purpose of this highlight is to demonstrate the importance of the surface functionalization of nanoparticles toward the
design of high-tech (nano)materials. These (nano)materials are “nano-tools” for the already established interdisciplinary research fields of
nanoscience and nanotechnology, which find an enormous variety of applications in different areas. In many cases, the particle-forming
material, shape, and size determine the applicability of the desired nanoparticle. Nevertheless, in most of the cases other parameters must
also be accurately adjusted to transform those nano-objects into functional nanoparticles, such as dispersibility, stability, reactivity, ability
to recognize (or to be recognized by) other systems, and the interaction between these parameters and a matrix or dispersing medium.
Most of these parameters are mainly depending on the surface characteristics of the nanoparticles. Thus, this highlight focuses not only
on the importance of the surface functionalization of the nanoparticles to render them applicable, but also on the different strategies to
design and obtain surface-functionalized nanoparticles (SF-NPs) and on their successful exploitation in materials science, formulation of
organic–inorganic hybrid nanostructures and bio-applications.