Tuneable nanoparticle-nanofiber composite substrate for improved cellular adhesion

Ariana M. Nicolini, Tyler D. Toth, Jeong Yeol Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This work presents a novel technique using a reverse potential electrospinning mode for fabricating nanoparticle-embedded composites that can be tailored to represent various fiber diameters, surface morphologies, and functional groups necessary for improved cellular adhesion. Polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers were electrospun in both traditional positive (PP) and reverse potential (RP) electrical fields. The fibers were incorporated with 300 nm polystyrene (PS) fluorescent particles, which contained carboxyl, amine groups, and surfactants. In the unconventional RP, the charged colloidal particles and surfactants were shown to have an exaggerated effect on Taylor cone morphology and fiber diameter caused by the changes in charge density and surface tension of the bulk solution. The RP mode was shown to lead to a decrease in fiber diameter from 1200 ± 100 nm (diameter ± SE) for the nanofibers made with PCL alone to 440 ± 80 nm with the incorporation of colloidal particles, compared to the PP mode ranging from 530 ± 90 nm to 350 ± 50 nm, respectively. The nanoparticle-nanofiber composite substrates were cultured with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and evaluated for cellular viability and adhesion for up to 5 days. Adhesion to the nanofibrous substrates was improved by 180 ± 10% with the addition of carboxylated particles and by 480 ± 60% with the functionalization of an RGD ligand compared to the PCL nanofibers. The novel approach of electrospinning in the RP mode with the addition of colloids in order to alter charge density and surface tension could be utilized towards many applications, one being implantable biomaterials and tissue engineered scaffolds as demonstrated in this work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-838
Number of pages9
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Functionalized nanoparticles
  • RGD ligand
  • Reverse potential electrospinning
  • Surface tension
  • Surfactant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Tuneable nanoparticle-nanofiber composite substrate for improved cellular adhesion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this