Focus Review

Polymer Journal (2016) 48, 773–780; doi:10.1038/pj.2016.38; published online 13 April 2016

Development of free-standing polymer nanosheets for advanced medical and health-care applications

Toshinori Fujie1,2

  1. 1Department of Life Science and Medical Bioscience, School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
  2. 2Japan Science and Technology Agency, Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology (PRESTO), Saitama, Japan

Correspondence: Dr T Fujie, Department of Life Science and Medical Bioscience, School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University, TWIns, 2-2 Wakamtsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8480, Japan. E-mail: t.fujie@aoni.waseda.jp

Received 11 January 2016; Revised 13 February 2016; Accepted 16 February 2016
Advance online publication 13 April 2016

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Abstract

Artificial replication of the biomembrane systems in living organisms is attractive for the development of advanced functional materials but remains challenging for materials science because of the intricate function of these systems. To this end, free-standing polymeric ultrathin films (referred to as ‘polymer nanosheets’) have been developed as a structural analog of biomembranes, such as cellular membranes and basement membranes in an extracellular matrix, with a thickness of tens to hundreds of nanometers. In comparison with conventional plastic films, these ultrathin structures generate attractive properties for biomedical applications, including high flexibility and noncovalent adhesiveness. This report reviews the seminal features and characteristics of ‘nanosheet technology’, including fabrication methods, mechanical properties and biomedical and health-care applications (for example, wound dressings, tissue engineering materials and bioelectronic devices). Nanosheet technology is a promising approach for the development of advanced medical applications and health-care practices in surgery and regenerative medicine, as well as for connecting the human body to electronic interfaces for future medical applications.