Nanobionics: the impact of nanotechnology on implantable medical bionic devices
The nexus of any bionic device can be found at the electrode-cellular interface. Overall efficiency is determined by our ability to transfer electronic information across that interface. The nanostructure imparted to electrodes plays a critical role in controlling the cascade of events that determines the composition and structure of that interface. With commonly used conductors: metals, carbon and organic conducting polymers, a number of approaches that promote control over structure in the nanodomain have emerged in recent years with subsequent studies revealing a critical dependency between nanostructure and cellular behaviour. As we continue to develop our understanding of how to create and characterise electromaterials in the nanodomain, this is expected to have a profound effect on the development of next generation bionic devices. In this review, we focus on advances in fabricating nanostructured electrodes that present new opportunities in the field of medical bionics. We also briefly evaluate the interactions of living cells with the nanostructured electromaterials, in addition to highlighting emerging tools used for nanofabrication and nanocharacterisation of the electrode- cellular interface.