Multi-functional electrospun nanofibres for advances in tissue regeneration, energy conversion & storage, and water treatment
Tissue regeneration, energy conversion & storage, and water treatment are some of the most critical challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. In order to address such challenges, one-dimensional (1D) materials are projected to play a key role in developing emerging solutions for the increasingly complex problems. Eletrospinning technology has been demonstrated to be a simple, versatile, and cost-effective method in fabricating a rich variety of materials with 1D nanostructures. These include polymers, composites, and inorganic materials with unique chemical and physical properties. In this tutorial review, we first give a brief introduction to electrospun materials with a special emphasis on the design, fabrication, and modification of 1D functional materials. Adopting the perspective of chemists and materials scientists, we then focus on the recent significant progress made in the domains of tissue regeneration (e.g., skin, nerve, heart and bone) and conversion & storage of clean energy (e.g., solar cells, fuel cells, batteries, and supercapacitors), where nanofibres have been used as active nanomaterials. Furthermore, this review's scope also includes the advances in the use of electrospun materials for the removal of heavy metal ions, organic pollutants, gas and bacteria in water treatment applications. Finally a conclusion and perspective is provided, in which we discuss the remaining challenges for 1D electrospun nanomaterials in tissue regeneration, energy conversion & storage, and water treatment.