Application of carbon fibers to biomaterials: A new era of nano-level control of carbon fibers after 30-years of development
Carbon fibers are state-of-the-art materials with properties that include being light weight, high strength, and chemically stable, and are applied in various fields including aeronautical science and space science. Investigation of applications of carbon fibers to biomaterials was started 30 or more years ago, and various products have been developed. Because the latest technological progress has realized nano-level control of carbon fibers, applications to biomaterials have also progressed to the age of nano-size. Carbon fibers with diameters in the nano-scale (carbon nanofibers) dramatically improve the functions of conventional biomaterials and make the development of new composite materials possible. Carbon nanofibers also open possibilities for new applications in regenerative medicine and cancer treatment. The first three-dimensional constructions with carbon nanofibers have been realized, and it has been found that the materials could be used as excellent scaffolding for bone tissue regeneration. In this critical review, we summarize the history of carbon fiber application to the biomaterials and describe future perspectives in the new age of nano-level control of carbon fibers (122 references).