Formation of electrically conductive nanocomposites with three-dimensional networks of carbon nanotubes for bioelectronics
In recent years, a new field of science and technology has been rapidly developing - bioelectronics, which combines electronic and living systems. To create bioelectronic components, it is effective to use nanocomposites, since the matrix can be biological, and the filler can impart functional properties. High mechanical strength and electrical conductivity can be achieved using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as a filler. Recently, most of the elements of the electronic component base are based on CNTs. It is logical to use biopolymers to create bioelectronic nanocomposites, since they impart the desired biocompatibility and flexibility. However, the potential for using CNTs as a filler in polymeric materials is severely limited due to the difficulties associated with their strong aggregation and poor interfacial interaction between CNTs and polymer matrices. Therefore, the aim of this work was to develop a technology for laser formation of biopolymer nanocomposites with conductive CNT networks for bioelectronic applications. In nanocomposites based on biopolymers (albumin, collagen, chitosan), a three-dimensional (3D) network of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) was embedded. The topology of nanocomposites was constructed using a laser setup based on a pulsed ytterbium fiber laser (wavelength - 1064 nm, pulse duration - 100 ns, frequency - 100 kHz, radiation power up to 10 W). The focused laser beam was moved with a galvanometric scanner along a given trajectory. Thanks to the developed technology, a high electrical conductivity of nanocomposites was achieved - more than 15 S/m for samples of various geometric shapes. The structure of the nanocomposites was a branched framework of SWCNT bundles interconnected and clothed in a biopolymer matrix. Biocompatibility has been confirmed in vitro by implantation in laboratory birds. The technology for creating biocompatible nanocomposites with controllable electrical conductivity and mechanical characteristics opens up wide opportunities for use in bioelectronics, in particular, for the production of piezoresistive strain sensors, artificial muscles, three-dimensional tissue engineering frameworks, etc. This study was supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation No. 075-03-2020-216 from 27.12.2019.
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Natalia A. Demidenko
National Research University of Electronic Technology, Zelenograd, Moscow
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