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Functionalized helical CNT fibre bundles as biosensors for healthcare

Fan Xu's picture

Mechanical mismatches between implanted electronics and biological tissues can lead to inaccurate readings and long-term tissue damage. Here, we show that functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes twisted into helical fibre bundles that mimic the hierarchical structure of muscle can monitor multiple disease biomarkers in vivo. The flexible fibre bundles are injectable, have a low bending stiffness and display ultralow stress under compression. As proof-of-concept evidence of the sensing capabilities of these fibre bundles, we show that the fibre bundles enable the spatially resolved and real-time monitoring of H2O2 when implanted in tumours in mice, and that they can be integrated with a wireless transmission system on an adhesive skin patch to monitor calcium ions and glucose in the venous blood of cats for 28 d. The versatility of the helical fibre bundles as chemically functionalized electrochemical sensors makes them suitable for multiple sensing applications in biomedicine and healthcare.

Nature Biomed. Eng.

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