Electrospinning is commonly used to produce polymeric nanofibers. Potential applications for such fibers include novel drug delivery systems, tissue engineering scaffolds, and filters. Electrospinning, however, has shortcomings such as needle clogging and limited ability to control the fiber-properties in a non-chemical manner. This study reports on an orifice-less technique that employs high-intensity focused ultrasound, i.e. ultrasound-enhanced electrospinning. Ultrasound bursts were used to generate a liquid protrusion with a Taylor cone from the surface of a polymer solution of polyethylene oxide. When the polymer was charged with a high negative voltage, nanofibers jetted off from the tip of the protrusion landed on an electrically grounded target held at a constant distance from the tip. Controlling the ultrasound characteristics permitted physical modification of the nanofiber topography at will without using supplemental chemical intervention. Possible applications of tailor-made fibers generated by ultrasound-enhanced electrospinning include pharmaceutical controlled-release applications and biomedical scaffolds with spatial gradients in fiber thickness and mechanical properties.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 13, 2018
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