Development of a biocompatible process that can fabricate functional nanostructures on fibers as desired
A joint research team led by Prof. Inkyu Park at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of KAIST and Dr. Jun-ho Jeong at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials developed a biocompatible process that can fabricate various functional nanoscale structures on fibers as desired.
In the present study, to address the limitation of the existing process that sophisticated patterns cannot be achieved due to the rough surface of fibers, hyaluronic acid, which is a water-soluble polymer and biocompatible, was applied given the nature of fibers being easily soaked in water. More specifically, a template that contained nanopatterns was fabricated using hyaluronic acid, on which thin films made of various materials were deposited. Subsequently, each of these thin films was simply dissolved with water on the fiber. As a result, a nanoscale structure with a minimum device length of 50 nm could be implemented on the fiber. It was the first study that attempted to fabricate sophisticated patterns on fibers at a nanoscale level.
This technology allows for nanostructures being directly transfer-printed on fibers and thus makes it possible to easily fabricate functional devices without additional substrates or adhesive layers. It is expected that this technology will be able to add different functions to fibers using its electrical and optical characteristics in various fields, such as monitoring of environmental changes and human body motions, security patterns using nanoscale structural colors, and self-cleaning functions using photocatalysts. These fibers will have high potential for applications as smart fibers.
The results of the present study were published in ACS Nano, an international journal in nanoscience, on February 25 with Jiwoo Ko, a Ph. D. student as the first author (Paper title: Nanotransfer Printing on Textile Substrate with Water-Soluble Polymer Nanotemplate).
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