Self-assembling ”organic wires” may pave way for bioelectronic applications

October 24th, 2008 - 12:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, October 24 (ANI): A research team from The Johns Hopkins University has created water-soluble electronic materials that spontaneously assemble themselves into “wires” much narrower than a human hair.
The researchers say that their work may pave the way for pacemakers that so closely mimic human tissues that a patient’’s body cannot discern the difference to devices that bypass injured spinal cords to restore movement to paralysed limbs.
“What’’s exciting about our materials is that they are of size and scale that cells can intimately associate with, meaning that they may have built-in potential for biomedical applications,” said John D. Tovar, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
“Can we use these materials to guide electrical current at the nanoscale? Can we use them to regulate cell-to-cell communication as a prelude to re-engineering neural networks or damaged spinal cords? These are the kinds of questions we are looking forward to being able to address and answer in the coming years,” the researcher added.
The researchers revealed that their work was inspired by the self-assembly principles that underlie the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are the protein deposits often associated with Alzheimer’’s disease.
That is why, they added, the new electronic materials might eventually prove useful for imaging the formation of these plaques.
“Of course, much research has been done and is still being done to understand how amyloids form and to prevent or reverse their formation. But the process also represents a powerful new pathway to fabricate nanoscale materials,” Tovar said.
An article describing the teams work has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. (ANI)

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