Electromechanical Coupling of Graphene With Cells
MetadataShow full item record
Nanomaterials have been studied extensively in the last decade in the context of many applications such as polymer composites, energy harvesting systems, sensors, ‘transparent’-like materials, ﬁeld-eﬀect transistors (FETs), spintronic devices, gas sensors and biomedical applications. Graphene, a recently discovered two-dimensional form of carbon has captured the interest of material scientists, and physicists alike due to its excellent electrical, mechanical and thermal properties. Graphene has also kindled a tremendous interest among chemists and cell biologists to create cellular-electronic interface in the context of bio-electronic devices as it can enable fabricating devices with enhanced potential as compared to conventional bio-electronics. Graphene’s unique electronic properties and sizes comparable with biological structures involved in cellular communication makes it a promising nanostructure for establishing active interfaces with biological systems. In the recent past Field effect transistors (FETs) have been successfully fabricated using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and nanowires (NWs) and electrical characterization of these FETs were done by interfacing them with various cell cultures, tissues and muscle cells. In these cases, exceptionally high surface area to thickness ratio of FETs provides high percentage of collectible signals and the cells that are used for the study are typically placed on the FET. In this thesis, we examine a different approach towards forming bio-electronic interfaces by covering the graphene oxide (reduced) sheets on the yeast cells. Graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide sheets as two-dimensional electronic materials have very high charge carrier mobility, extremely high surface area to thickness ratio, mechanical modulus and elasticity. We report the synthesis of graphene oxide using wet chemistry method, reduction of graphene oxide using different reducing agents and electrical characterization of graphene oxide’s conductivity. Micro-meter sized graphene sheets are used to encapsulate the yeast cells with the aid of calcium and gold nanoparticle chains. We also demonstrate that graphene sheets form electrically conductive layers on the yeast cells and developing an electromechanical coupling with the cell. The mechanical and electrical characteristics of graphene sheets are highly dependent on the cell volume and structure which are in turn related to the environment around the cell. Furthermore, using the same principle of electromechanical coupling we study the dynamics of cell surface stresses and cell volume modification, which are of importance in processes such as cell growth, division, and response to physiological factors such as osmotic stresses.