Nematic Templated Complex Nanofiber Structures by Projection Display


Oriented arrays of nanofibers are ubiquitous in nature and have been widely used in recreation of the biological functions such as bone and muscle tissue regenerations. However, it remains a challenge to produce nanofiber arrays with a complex organization by using current fabrication techniques such as electrospinning and extrusion. In this work, we propose a method to fabricate the complex organization of nanofiber structures templated by a spatially varying ordered liquid crystal host, which follows the pattern produced by a maskless projection display system. By programming the synchronization of the rotated polarizer and projected segments with different shapes, various configurations of nanofiber organization ranging from a single to two-dimensional lattice of arbitrary topological defects are created in a deterministic manner. The nanofiber arrays can effectively guide and promote neurite outgrowth. The application of nanofibers with arced profiles and topological defects on neural tissue organization is also demonstrated. This finding, combined with the versatility and programmability of nanofiber structures, suggests that they will help solve challenges in nerve repair, neural regeneration, and other related tissue engineering fields.

Publication Title

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces