In 1991, Japanese physicist Juno Iijima discovered carbon nanotube sheets while studying the molecular structure of fullerenes, an allotrope of carbon. In the ensuing years, nanoscale structures have become the focus of scientific researchers as scientists try to discover more about their unique properties in order to develop their use in various applications. For more than three decades, carbon nanotube sheets have been used in important applications such as microelectronic circuits and microscopy, as well as as tools for simulating biological systems and testing quantum mechanics.
Considering the advantageous properties of carbon nanotube sheets, such as having a high level of electrical conductivity, high melting point, and strong covalent bonds between atoms, the potential uses of carbon nanotube sheets are very broad. They can be single-walled, as small as 1 nanometer (nm) in diameter, or multi-walled, over 100 nanometers in diameter. For this reason, scientists have explored how to use these structures. One area where the use of carbon nanotube sheets has shown great promise is in biomedical sciences.
Recent studies have shown the great potential of carbon nanotube sheets for biomedical applications. There is evidence that carbon nanotube sheets are very useful in developing biomaterials. The field of reconstructive medicine is devoted to improving current methods of producing functional biological tissue, as well as developing technologies to repair and replace tissues and organs damaged by wounds or disease. Carbon nanotube sheets offer structural and mechanical properties that are beneficial for these applications, while they are very useful as composites in tissue engineering.
Studies have shown that they can be successfully used as drug delivery and gene therapy vehicles. They have also demonstrated their utility as imaging agents. Numerous studies have shown that functionalized carbon nanotube sheets can effectively deliver therapeutic drugs across the blood-brain barrier, and they are also suitable for tumor-targeted therapeutic drugs. Research in this area continues to explore further uses for carbon nanotube sheets.
To further develop carbon nanotube sheets for biomedical applications, special attention must be paid to deepening our understanding of the effects of nanotube surface roughness on their properties and how to operate them. The researchers suggest that the cutting depth should be considered and used to control the process of cutting carbon nanotube sheets. It should also be used to inform the scheduling and design of processes.