Design, synthesis, and characterization of a novel biodegradable, electrically conducting biomaterial
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This text describes the rational design, synthesis, and characterization of a new biomaterial with a unique set of properties. The polymer is biodegradable and biocompatible and can be rendered conductive by treatment with iodine vapor. The synthesis of this biomaterial was achieved using conducting oligomers of pyrrole and thiophene that are connected via flexible aliphatic regions and degradable ester linkages. This material has promise for biomedical applications, particularly tissue engineering, in which a degradable polymer scaffold is desired to serve as an initial template for tissue growth. Furthermore, the electrically conducting property of the polymer is attractive since electrical fields and charges are known to stimulate healing of several tissue types including bone, skin, and nerve. Thus, the use of an electrically conducting polymer has the potential to allow one to locally deliver electrical stimulation directly to the site of damage, while also providing a physical template for cell growth and tissue repair.