Jagged graphene can slice into cell membranes

July 25, 2013

The bottom corner of a piece of graphene penetrates a cell membrane. Mechanical properties — rough edges, sharp corners — can make graphene dangerous to human cells. Scale bar represents two microns. Credit: Kane lab/Brown University

A collaboration of biologists, engineers, and material scientists at Brown University has found that jagged edges of graphene can easily pierce cell membranes, allowing graphene to enter the cell and disrupt normal function. Understanding the mechanical forces of nanotoxicity should help engineers design safer materials at the nanoscale. Read more