Self-assembly of dipeptide Boc-diphenylalanine nanotubes inside electrospun polymeric fibers with strong piezoelectric response†
Dipeptide biomaterials are strong piezoelectric materials that can convert applied mechanical forces into electricity. We have developed large-scale hybrid electrospun arrays containing N-tert-butoxycarbonyl (Boc) diphenylalanine in the form of nanotubes embedded in biocompatible polymers. These nanofibers exhibit strong piezoelectric properties when a periodic mechanical force is applied. The nanostructured hybrid materials were produced by the electrospinning technique. Optical absorption measurements show four bands in the spectral region 240–280 nm indicating quantum confinement due to nanotube formation of Boc-diphenylalanine in dichloromethane solutions. A strong blue photoluminescence emission was observed from nanotubes crystallized inside the fiber arrays during the electrospinning process. These two dimensional hybrid biomaterial structures are able to generate voltage, current and density power of up to 30 V, 300 nA and 2.3 μW cm−2, respectively, when a periodical force of 1.5 N is applied. The dipeptide-polymer electrospun arrays can power several liquid-crystal display panels and may be used for biomedical applications and as bio-energy sources.