Nanotechnology application to the nervous system: carbon nanotubes and brain signaling
Prof. Laura Ballerini
Università di Trieste, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita
ABSTRACT: Nanotechnology is a branch of engineering that deals with materials and devices of nanometer scale. Nanodevices and nanomaterials are increasing being used in many research areas, most notably, in electronics. Carbon nanotubes, owing to their electrical, chemical, mechanical and thermal properties, are one of the most promising nanomaterials for the electronics, computer and aerospace industries. More recently, these unique materials are finding their niche in neuroscience. I will discuss the use of carbon nanotubes as scaffold for neuronal growth and I will discuss electrical interactions between neurons and carbon nanotubes. I will also illustrate the use of CNTs as potential devices for improving synaptic transmission. The electrical properties of nanotubes can provide a mechanism to monitor or stimulate neurons through the scaffold itself. The ease of which carbon nanotubes can be patterned makes them attractive for studying the organization of neural networks and has the potential to develop new devices for neural prosthesis.