Materials Science

Directing Fibers

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Science  18 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5985, pp. 1455
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5985.1455-c

In electrospinning, droplets of liquid polymer solution are charged to a high voltage relative to a metal collector plate. The strong field creates a jet that solidifies to a nanofiber as solvent evaporates. However, the final product is typically a random mat of fibers because of instabilities in the jet motion. Kim et al. show that the collection of electrospun fibers on a sharp tip can control the deposition. Like long cylinders of clay coiling to form a pot, the nanofibers coil onto the electrode tip to form a hollow cylinder about 3 µm wide and 40 µm tall in about 1 s. Badrossamay et al. abandon the use of electrical fields altogether and use a rotating nozzle, which combines pressure and centrifugal forces to create a jet. Aligned fibers of a biodegradable polymer thus prepared were used as a scaffold for rat cardiomyocytes, which developed into beating multicellular tissue.

Nano Lett. 10, 10.1021/nl100824d; 10.1021/nl101355x (2010).

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