The carbon nanotube coating improves conductivity, which means less energy is needed to power the nerve stimulator. That can help reduce routine maintenance, such as the need to change batteries in implanted stimulation devices, as well as reduce tissue damage caused by the electrical charge.
"Our process is like taking a Ford Pinto, pouring on this chemical coating, and turning it into a Ferrari," Dr. Keefer said.
Researchers have tried several types of electrochemical coatings to see if they could improve conductivity, but the coatings often break down quickly or fail to stay affixed to the electrodes. The carbon nanotube coating shows far more promise, although further research is still needed, Dr. Keefer said.
"The development of new technologies by Dr. Keefer to potentially restore function in wounded tissues and future transplantations is exciting," said Dr. Spencer Brown, assistant professor of plastic surgery who heads research in the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Advanced Plastic Surgery and Wound Healing Laboratory at UT Southwestern.
|Contact: Russell Rian|
UT Southwestern Medical Center