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July 25, 1999

NASA Nanotechnology in particular Buckypaper



NASA has a lot of nanotechnology research that they are looking for business partners for commercial development.

Carbon nanotube based membranes known as buckypaper may be used as filter media for analytical mission instruments or implantable device support for astronaut health monitoring

The NASA Ames Research Center offers the opportunity to license and co-develop a technology based on carbon nanotube Buckypaper to form capsules that shield cells, tissues or medical devices for transplantation purposes. The highly porous mesh structure of the capsules allows for the free flow of nutrients and metabolites, providing a suitable environment to maintain living cells. The primary purpose of the invention is two-fold: (1) to shield cells or devices from the host immune system, thereby removing the need for immunosuppressive drugs, and (2) to provide a structure to facilitate controlled secretion of therapeutic substances from transplanted cells for gene therapy applications.


Buckypaper can be used to transplant retinal cells.

NASA needs help getting technology such as buckypaper commercialized. Any reader with any ideas on commercializing buckypaper should provide the idea in the comments of this article or contact

Darya Bubman
Lockheed Martin
Entrepreneurial Initiatives Division
NASA Ames Research Center
darya dot bubman at nasa dot gov

Buckypaper factsheet.

• Bucky paper capsules measuring 1-3 mm in diameter can be implanted at a wide range of anatomical sites
• Both cell and tissue biocompatibility have been demonstrated, including subretinal
implantation experiments in rabbits, which showed no inflammation
• Pore size can be controlled to retain transplanted cells and to ensure that immune
effector cells are excluded

Applications of Buckypaper

• Encapsulation of islet cell transplants for treatment of diabetes
• Encapsulation of engineered cells for gene therapy applications
• Immune shielding of implantable medical devices or drug delivery devices


The buckypaper patent is here. US Patent 7070923 - Provision of carbon nanotube bucky paper cages for immune shielding of cells, tissues, and medical devices