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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 327369, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/327369
Research Article

Morphological Characterization of Nanofibers: Methods and Application in Practice

1Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Heyrovsky Square 2, 162 06 Prague 6, Czech Republic
2Elmarco, Ltd., V horkách 76, 46007 Liberec, Czech Republic
3Institute of Chemical Technology, Technická 5, 166 28 Prague 6, Czech Republic
4Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Vídeňská 1083, 142 20 Prague 4, Czech Republic
5Institute of Molecular Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Vídeňská 1083, 142 20 Prague 4, Czech Republic

Received 31 May 2012; Accepted 18 September 2012

Academic Editor: Cheng Wang

Copyright © 2012 Jakub Širc et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Biomedical applications such as wound dressing for skin regeneration, stem cell transplantation, or drug delivery require special demands on the three-dimensional porous scaffolds. Besides the biocompatibility and mechanical properties, the morphology is the most important attribute of the scaffold. Specific surface area, volume, and size of the pores have considerable effect on cell adhesion, growth, and proliferation. In the case of incorporated biologically active substances, their release is also influenced by the internal structure of nanofibers. Although many scientific papers are focused on the preparation of nanofibers and evaluation of biological tests, the morphological characterization was described just briefly as service methods. The aim of this paper is to summarize the methods applicable for morphological characterization of nanofibers and supplement it by the results of our research. Needleless electrospinning technique was used to prepare nanofibers from polylactide, poly(ε-caprolactone), gelatin, and polyamide. Scanning electron microscopy was used to evaluate the fiber diameters and to reveal eventual artifacts in the nanofibrous structure. Nitrogen adsorption/desorption measurements were employed to measure the specific surface areas. Mercury porosimetry was used to determine total porosities and compare pore size distributions of the prepared samples.