Electrospinning of nanofibers from non-polymeric systems : electrospun nanofibers from native cyclodextrins
Electrospinning of nanofibers from non-polymeric systems is rather challenging, yet in this study, we have successfully performed electrospinning of nanofibers from two of the native cyclodextrins (CDs); α-CD and β-CD. Electrospinning was carried out for highly concentrated solutions of α-CD (120% up to 160%, w/v) and β-CD (120% up to 150%, w/v) in basic aqueous system. At optimal concentration level, the electrospinning of CD solutions yielded bead-free uniform CD nanofibers without using carrier polymeric matrix. Similar to polymeric systems, the electrospinning of CD solutions resulted in different morphologies and average fiber diameters depending on the CD type and CD concentration. The dynamic light scattering (DLS) and rheology measurements were performed in order to examine the electrospinnability of CD solutions. The existence of CD aggregates via hydrogen bonding and very high solution viscosity and viscoelastic solid-like behavior of CD solutions were found to be the key factors for obtaining bead-free nanofibers from CDs. The addition of urea disrupted CD aggregates and lowered the viscosity significantly, and therefore, the urea-added CD solutions yielded beaded fibers and/or beads. Although the as-received CDs in powder form are crystalline, the structural analyses by XRD and HR-TEM indicated that electrospun CD nanofibers have amorphous characteristic without showing any particular orientation or crystalline aggregation of CD molecules.