Carbon nanotube biofiber formation in a polymer-free coagulation bath
A novel solution spinning method to produce highly conducting carbon nanotube (CNT) biofibers is reported. In this process, carbon nanotubes are dispersed using biomolecules such as hyaluronic acid, chitosan, and DNA, and these dispersions are used as spinning solutions. Unlike previous reports in which a polymer binder is used in the coagulation bath, these dispersions can be converted into fibers simply by altering the nature of the coagulation bath via pH control, use of a crosslinking agent, or use of a biomolecule-precipitating solvent system. With strength comparable to most reported CNT fibers to date, these CNT biofibers demonstrate superior electrical conductivities. Cell culture experiments are performed to investigate the cytotoxicity of these fibers. This novel fiber spinning approach could simplify methodologies for creating electrically conducting and biocompatible platforms for a variety of biomedical applications, particularly in those systems where the application of an electrical field is advantageous-for example, in directed nerve and/or muscle repair.