Biocompatible carbon nanotube-based hybrid microfiber for implantable electrochemical actuator and flexible electronic applications

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Biocompatible, electrically conductive microfibers with superior mechanical properties have received a great attention due to their potential applications in various biomedical applications such as implantable medical devices, biosensors, artificial muscles, and microactuators. Here, we developed an electrically conductive and mechanically stable carbon nanotube-based microactuator with a low degradability that makes it usable for an implantable device in the body or biological environments. The microfiber was composed of hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogel and single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) (HA/SWCNT). HA hydrogel acts as biosurfactant and ion-conducting binder to improve the dispersion of SWCNTs resulting in enhanced electrical and mechanical properties of the hybrid microfiber. In addition, HA was crosslinked to prevent the leaking of the nanotubes from the composite. Crosslinking of HA hydrogel significantly enhances Young’s modulus, the failure strain, the toughness, the stability of the electrical conductivity, and the resistance to biodegradation and creep of hybrid microfibers. The obtained crosslinked HA/SWCNT hybrid microfibers show an excellent capacitance and actuation behavior under mechanical loading with a low potential of ±1 V in a biological environment. Furthermore, the HA/SWCNT microfibers exhibit an excellent in vitro viability. Finally, the biocompatibility is shown through the resolution of an early inflammatory response in less than 3 weeks after the implantation of the microfibers in the subcutaneous tissue of mice.

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Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society. Publisher’s version of record:

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ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces