Structural crystallisation of crosslinked 3D PEDOT:PSS anisotropic porous biomaterials to generate highly conductive platforms for tissue engineering applications†
An emerging class of materials finding applications in biomaterials science – conductive polymers (CPs) – enables the achievement of smarter electrode coatings, piezoresistive components within biosensors, and scaffolds for tissue engineering. Despite their advances in recent years, there exist still some challenges which have yet to be addressed, such as long-term stability under physiological conditions, adequate long-term conductivity and optimal biocompatibility. Additionally, another hurdle to the use of these materials is their adaptation towards three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds, a feature that is usually achieved by virtue of applying CPs as a functionalised coating on a bulk material. Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) is by far one of the most promising CPs in terms of its stability and conductivity, with the latter capable of being enhanced via a crystallisation treatment using sulphuric acid. In this work, we present a new generation of 3D electroconductive porous biomaterial scaffolds based on PEDOT:PSS crosslinked via glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GOPS) and subjected to sulphuric acid crystallisation. The resultant isotropic and anisotropic crystallised porous scaffolds exhibited, on an average, a 1000-fold increase in conductivity when compared with the untreated scaffolds. Moreover, we also document a precise control over the pore microarchitecture, size and anisotropy with high repeatability to achieve both isotropic and aligned scaffolds with mechanical and electrical anisotropy, while exhibiting adequate biocompatibility. These findings herald a new approach towards generating anisotropic porous biomaterial scaffolds with superior conductivity through a safe and scalable post-treatment.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigators 2021