Kateryna Diedkova, Alexander D. Pogrebnjak, Sergiy Kyrylenko, Kateryna Smyrnova, Vladimir V. Buranich, Pawel Horodek, Pawel Zukowski, Tomasz N. Koltunowicz, Piotr Galaszkiewicz, Kristina Makashina, Vitaly Bondariev, Martin Sahul, Maria Čaplovičová, Yevheniia Husak, Wojciech Simka, Viktoriia Korniienko, Agnieszka Stolarczyk, Agata Blacha-Grzechnik, Vitalii Balitskyi, Veronika Zahorodna, Ivan Baginskiy, Una Riekstina, Oleksiy Gogotsi, Yury Gogotsi, and Maksym Pogorielov
In: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Vol. 15, iss. 11 (2023)
New conductive materials for tissue engineering are needed for the development of regenerative strategies for nervous, muscular, and heart tissues. Polycaprolactone (PCL) is used to obtain biocompatible and biodegradable nanofiber scaffolds by electrospinning. MXenes, a large class of biocompatible 2D nanomaterials, can make polymer scaffolds conductive and hydrophilic. However, an understanding of how their physical properties affect potential biomedical applications is still lacking. We immobilized Ti3C2Tx MXene in several layers on the electrospun PCL membranes and used positron annihilation analysis combined with other techniques to elucidate the defect structure and porosity of nanofiber scaffolds. The polymer base was characterized by the presence of nanopores. The MXene surface layers had abundant vacancies at temperatures of 305–355 K, and a voltage resonance at 8 × 104 Hz with the relaxation time of 6.5 × 106 s was found in the 20–355 K temperature interval. The appearance of a long-lived component of the positron lifetime was observed, which was dependent on the annealing temperature. The study of conductivity of the composite scaffolds in a wide temperature range, including its inductive and capacity components, showed the possibility of the use of MXene-coated PCL membranes as conductive biomaterials. The electronic structure of MXene and the defects formed in its layers were correlated with the biological properties of the scaffolds in vitro and in bacterial adhesion tests. Double and triple MXene coatings formed an appropriate environment for cell attachment and proliferation with mild antibacterial effects. A combination of structural, chemical, electrical, and biological properties of the PCL–MXene composite demonstrated its advantage over the existing conductive scaffolds for tissue engineering.