27 August 2014 Stretchable conducting materials with multi-scale hierarchical structures for biomedical applications
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Electrogenetic tissues in human body such as central and peripheral nerve systems, muscular and cardiomuscular systems are soft and stretchable materials. However, most of the artificial materials, interfacing with those conductive tissues, such as neural electrodes and cardiac pacemakers, have stiff mechanical properties. The rather contradictory properties between natural and artificial materials usually cause critical incompatibility problems in implanting bodymachine interfaces for wide ranges of biomedical devices. Thus, we developed a stretchable and electrically conductive material with complex hierarchical structures; multi-scale microstructures and nanostructural electrical pathways. For biomedical purposes, an implantable polycaprolactone (PCL) membrane was coated by molecularly controlled layer-bylayer (LBL) assembly of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) or poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT). The soft PCL membrane with asymmetric micro- and nano-pores provides elastic properties, while conductive SWNT or PEDOT coating preserves stable electrical conductivity even in a fully stretched state. This electrical conductivity enhanced ionic cell transmission and cell-to-cell interactions as well as electrical cellular stimulation on the membrane. Our novel stretchable conducting materials will overcome long-lasting challenges for bioelectronic applications by significantly reducing mechanical property gaps between tissues and artificial materials and by providing 3D interconnected electro-active pathways which can be available even at a fully stretched state.
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Hyun Kim, Hyun Kim, Bong Sup Shim, Bong Sup Shim, } "Stretchable conducting materials with multi-scale hierarchical structures for biomedical applications", Proc. SPIE 9172, Nanostructured Thin Films VII, 91720D (27 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2062912; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2062912

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