PerspectiveMaterials Science

Exploring the Interface of Graphene and Biology

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Science  18 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6181, pp. 261-263
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246736

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Graphene is highly conductive, flexible, and has controllable permittivity and hydrophilicity, among its other distinctive properties (1, 2). These properties could enable the development of multifunctional biomedical devices (3). A key issue for such applications is the determination of the possible interactions with components of the biological milieu to reveal the opportunities offered and the limitations posed. As with any other nanomaterial, biological studies of graphene should be performed with very specific, well-designed, and well-characterized types of materials with defined exposure. We outline three layers of complexity that are interconnected and need to be considered carefully in the development of graphene for use in biomedical applications: material characteristics; interactions with biological components (tissues, cells, and proteins); and biological activity outcomes.