Functionalized Polymer Nanotubes Utilizing Electrospun Fibers (TUFT-Process)

Haoqing Hou, Michael Bognitzki, Jun Zeng, Holger Wickel, Joachim H. Wendorff, and Andreas Greiner

Institute of Physical Chemistry, Philipps-University, Hans-Meerwein-Str., D-35032 Marburg, Germany



Encouraged by our recent success in the preparation of degradable polymer fibers with diameters in the submicrometer range using the electrospinning technique we have developed a straight-forward and highly versatile template method for the production of tubular structures with controlled diameter in the submicrometer range. The general procedure of this template method is to prepare extremely thin template polymer fibers by electrospinning and to coat them by the desired wall materials using various types of coating techniques. Tubes are subsequently formed via selective removal of the template fibers. This process is called the TUFT-process (tubes by fiber templates) [1,2]. Following this concept webs of nonoriented and oriented nanotubes of polymer, metal, glass and hybrid polymer/metal were prepared with inner diameters up to 2000 nm and down to 10 nm depending on the diameter of the template fibers. The length of these fibers is »100 µm. This kind of new tubular structures could find applications in the fields of e.g. catalysis, separation, microelectronics, optics, release, and bionics engineering.