Electrospun nanodiamond-silk fibroin membranes: a multifunctional platform for biosensing and wound-healing applications

Asma Khalid*, Dongbi Bai, Amanda N. Abraham, Amit Jadhav, Denver Linklater, Alex Matusica, Duy Nguyen, Billy James Murdoch, Nadia Zakhartchouk, Chaitali Dekiwadia, Philipp Reineck, David Simpson, Achini K. Vidanapathirana, Shadi Houshyar, Christina A. Bursill, Elena P. Ivanova, Brant C. Gibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Next generation wound care technology capable of diagnosing wound parameters, promoting healthy cell growth, and reducing pathogenic infections noninvasively would provide patients with an improved standard of care and accelerated wound repair. Temperature is one of the indicating biomarkers specific to chronic wounds. This work reports a hybrid, multifunctional optical material platform - nanodiamond (ND)-silk membranes as biopolymer dressings capable of temperature sensing and promoting wound healing. The hybrid structure was fabricated through electrospinning, and 3D submicron fibrous membranes with high porosity were formed. Silk fibers are capable of compensating for the lack of an extracellular matrix at the wound site, supporting the wound-healing process. Negatively charged nitrogen vacancy (NV-) color centers in NDs exhibit optically detected magnetic resonance (ODMR) and act as nanoscale thermometers. This can be exploited to sense temperature variations associated with the presence of infection or inflammation in a wound, without physically removing the dressing. Our results show that the presence of NDs in the hybrid ND-silk membranes improves the thermal stability of silk fibers. NV- color centers in NDs embedded in silk fibers exhibit well-retained fluorescence and ODMR. Using the NV- centers as fluorescent nanoscale thermometers, we achieved temperature sensing in 25-50 °C, including the biologically relevant temperature window, for cell-grown ND-silk membranes. An enhancement (∼1.5× on average) in the temperature sensitivity of the NV- centers was observed for the hybrid materials. The hybrid membranes were further tested in vivo in a murine wound-healing model and demonstrated biocompatibility and equivalent wound closure rates as the control wounds. Additionally, the hybrid ND-silk membranes exhibited selective antifouling and biocidal propensity toward Gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli, while no effect was observed on Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48408-48419
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • biocompatible materials
  • electrospinning
  • nanodiamonds
  • nitrogen vacancy center
  • silk fibroin
  • temperature sensing
  • wound healing


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