Carbon nanotubes — incredibly strong, electrically conductive, hollow molecules of carbon about a nanometer in diameter — have for more than a decade been prized by materials scientists. They’ve added them to batteries to increase their surface area and are developing light-emitting nanotubes for telecommunications. Now University of Texas researchers have demonstrated that mats of single-walled carbon nanotubes can communicate electrical signals to neurons, suggesting that the tubes could be used as an electrical interface between neural prosthetics — devices used to replace damaged or missing nerves — and the body. This is good news for those hoping to use nanotubes to stimulate or replace nerve cells in the eye, brain, and spinal cord.
This Is Your Brain on Nanotubes