Scientists have integrated carbon nanotubes in neurons to control growth and restore lost electrical connections between nerve cells.
They have shown that the carbon nanotubes can be used safely and hope they can restore neural function to people with spinal injuries. The integration of carbon nanotubes brought along some unexpected benefits too.
Carbon nanotubes have some remarkable properties: excellent thermal conductivity, mechanical strength, and electrical conductivity. They have been used to make the toughest fibre ever made, computer chips that run twice as fast as silicon chips and they have also been used to create the world's blackest material – Vantablack.
Because they are long, thin and conductive, carbon nanotubes seemed like the ideal candidate for neuronal prostheses, restoring function to damaged neural pathways, and systems that interface with the human body.