Researchers at Johns Hopkins University developed a water soluble organic material that self assembles into wires one ten thousandth of the width of human hair. The researchers believe this advancement will find itself into medical applications.
“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 team used the self assembly principles that underlie the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are the protein deposits often associated with Alzheimer’s disease, as a model for their new material. This raises another possibility: that these new electronic materials may eventually prove useful for imaging the formation of these plaques.
Johns Hopkins press statement: JHU Chemist Devises Self Assembling "Organic Wires"…
Image: f. ferreira