“Zebra Mussel-inspired Electrically Conductive Polymer Nanofiber”
Boxin Zhao and Wei Zhang; Department of Chemical Engineering, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, University of Waterloo
Abstract: Dopamine (DA) is a “sticky” biomolecule containing the typical functional groups of mussel adhesive proteins. It can self-polymerize to form a nanoscale polydopamine (PDA) thin film on various surfaces. Despite the DA polymerization mechanism and the PDA structure are not fully explored, PDA film has gained great interest for its promising applications, such as anti-corrosion coating, drug delivery, and nanocomposite functionalization. In this talk, we will present our recent research progress on the development of zebra mussel-inspired electrically conductive polymer nanofiber. It combined PDA with polypyrrole (PPy), which is one of the most extensively investigated conductive polymers because of its economic preparation, long-term stability and good biocompatiablity. Due to the synergetic effect of DA modification, PPy exhibit multifunctional and unique properties: the morphology changed from globular to fibrous; the PPy nanofibers can readily dispersed in water, the adhesion between PPy film and glass substrates was enhanced due to the adhesion properties of the PDA; and proper DA/pyrrole (Py) reacting ratios also led to PPy conductivity improvement. All these features, along with the intrinsic biocompatible nature of these two molecules, significantly improve the processability of PPy and broaden its potential applications in biomedical materials and devices. This work may also open the possibility of using this Mussel-inspired approach to functionalize other biocompatible conductive polymers; such materials could find broad applications in biomedical implants, scaffold, artificial muscles, and biosensors.
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