Use of graphene as protection film in biological environments

Weixia Zhang, Purdue University
Sudarat Lee, Purdue University
Kelly L. McNear, Purdue University
Ting Fung Chung, Purdue University, Birck Nanotechnology Center
Seunghyun Lee, University of Michigan
Kyunghoon Lee, University of Michigan
Scott A. Crist, Purdue University
Timothy L. Ratliff, Purdue University
Zhaohui Zhong, University of Michigan
Yong P. Chen, Purdue University, Birck Nanotechnology Center
Chen Yang, Purdue University

Date of this Version



This is the Publisher PDF of Zhang, W; Lee, S; McNear, KL; Chung, TF; Lee, S; Lee, K; Crist, SA; Ratliff, TL; Zhong, Z; Chen, YP; and Yang, C. "Use of graphene as protection film in biological environments." Scientific Reports 4, Article 4097. 2014. Published by Nature Publishing group, it is made available here with a CC-BY license and can also be found at


Corrosion of metal in biomedical devices could cause serious health problems to patients. Currently ceramics coating materials used in metal implants can reduce corrosion to some extent with limitations. Here we proposed graphene as a biocompatible protective film for metal potentially for biomedical application. We confirmed graphene effectively inhibits Cu surface from corrosion in different biological aqueous environments. Results from cell viability tests suggested that graphene greatly eliminates the toxicity of Cu by inhibiting corrosion and reducing the concentration of Cu2+ ions produced. We demonstrated that additional thiol derivatives assembled on graphene coated Cu surface can prominently enhance durability of sole graphene protection limited by the defects in graphene film. We also demonstrated that graphene coating reduced the immune response to metal in a clinical setting for the first time through the lymphocyte transformation test. Finally, an animal experiment showed the effective protection of graphene to Cu under in vivo condition. Our results open up the potential for using graphene coating to protect metal surface in biomedical application.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology