Materials (Aug 2021)

Electrochemically Synthesized Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanowires as Photosensitive Neuronal Interfaces

  • Szilveszter Gáspár,
  • Tiziana Ravasenga,
  • Raluca-Elena Munteanu,
  • Sorin David,
  • Fabio Benfenati,
  • Elisabetta Colombo

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 16
p. 4761


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Poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) is a hole-conducting polymer that has been intensively used to develop organic optoelectronic devices (e.g., organic solar cells). Recently, P3HT films and nanoparticles have also been used to restore the photosensitivity of retinal neurons. The template-assisted electrochemical synthesis of polymer nanowires advantageously combines polymerization and polymer nanostructuring into one, relatively simple, procedure. However, obtaining P3HT nanowires through this procedure was rarely investigated. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the template-assisted electrochemical synthesis of P3HT nanowires doped with tetrabutylammonium hexafluorophosphate (TBAHFP) and their biocompatibility with primary neurons. We show that template-assisted electrochemical synthesis can relatively easily turn 3-hexylthiophene (3HT) into longer (e.g., 17 ± 3 µm) or shorter (e.g., 1.5 ± 0.4 µm) P3HT nanowires with an average diameter of 196 ± 55 nm (determined by the used template). The nanowires produce measurable photocurrents following illumination. Finally, we show that primary cortical neurons can be grown onto P3HT nanowires drop-casted on a glass substrate without relevant changes in their viability and electrophysiological properties, indicating that P3HT nanowires obtained by template-assisted electrochemical synthesis represent a promising neuronal interface for photostimulation.