(353d) Award Submission: Fabrication of Nanocarbon Fibers for Neural Tissue Engineering
AIChE Annual Meeting
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 4:33pm to 4:59pm
We report a novel approach for fabricating nanocarbon fibers (NCF) as a potential candidate material for neural prosthetic devices. The current crop of neural probes, most notably metal or silicone electrodes, suffer from the lack of long term performance due to scarring and issues with biocompatibility. However, carbon allotrope structures such as single walled carbon nanotubes and graphene, not only circumvent issues of biocompatibility by being comprised only of carbon, but also provide an advantage of being conductive, that is the critical attribute for electrode performance. Fabrication of NCF are aided with the incorporation of polysaccharide agarose whose inherent gelation properties can be manipulated to produce flexible, durable and conductive fibers. Furthermore, agarose can be chemically functionalized to express biological moieties through free hydroxly groups on the agarose chain. Therefore, by combining the conductive properties of nanocarbon materials with the gelling and functionalization properties of agarose, we succeeded to produce fibers that are conductive and nontoxic in nature, which in turn enables cell attachment and response,as shown by both in vitro and in vivo experiments.