Polymeric ultra-thin films show peculiar properties making them potentially useful for several applications in biomedicine. Here we present the more recent advancements we achieved in this field, focusing on functionalized freestanding nanofilms and their applications.
For using nanofilms as plasters to be delivered, targeted and finely positioned in situ on surgical incisions, or to perform therapeutic or treatment tasks, nanofilms must be precisely manipulated. In this vision we succeeded in developing free-standing polyester nanofilms embedding superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), by using a combination of spin assisted deposition and sacrificial/supporting layer techniques. The resulting freestanding nanofilms have a thickness in the order of 100-300 nm and could be remotely controllable by permanent and gradient magnetic fields, thus opening new application scenarios, as already theoretically and experimentally demonstrated.
By applying a similar approach, our group has developed original techniques for the obtainment of free-standing conductive nanofilms. The patented technologies permit to obtain robust free-standing nanofilms based on conductive polymers (PEDOT/PSS) with relatively easy and cheap processes. The realized nanofilms show typical values of conductivities ranging from 10-1 up to 1000 S/cm (depending on materials formulation and employed processes). Target applications for these materials are: sensing and actuating nanomembranes, locomotion of micro and meso-scale objects in fluids, flexible and smart substrates for cell culturing and stimulation, bio-hybrid actuating devices, scaffolds for regenerative medicine.
Finally, the possibility to finely tune the mechanical properties of freestanding nanofilms have been also successfully exploited to study the mechanobiology of cells adhesion on substrates.