Electrospinning is a promising technique for the fabrication of bioscaffolds in tissue engineering applications. Pertaining issues of multiple polymer jets and bending instabilities result in random paths which lend poor controllability over scaffolds morphology for affecting the porosity and mechanical stability. The present study alleviates these challenges by demonstrating a novel self-directing single jet taking a specifically patterned path to deposit fibers into circular and uniform scaffolds without tuning any externally controlled parameters. High-speed camera observation revealed that the charge retention and dissipation on the collected fibers caused rapid autojet switching between the two jetting modes, namely, a microcantilever-like armed jet motion and a whipping motion, which sequentially expand the area and thickness of the scaffolds, respectively, in a layered-like fashion. The physical properties showed that the self-switching dual-jet modes generated multilayered microfibrous scaffolds (MFSs) with dual morphologies and varied fiber packing density, thereby establishing the gradient porosity and mechanical strength (through buckled fibers) in the scaffolds. In vitro studies showed that as-spun scaffolds are cell-permeable hierarchical 3D microporous structures enabling lateral cell seeding into multiple layers. The cell proliferation on days 6 and 9 increased 21% and 38% correspondingly on MFSs than on nanofibrous scaffolds (NFSs) done by conventional multijets electrospinning. Remarkably, this novel and single-step process is highly reproducible and tunable for developing fibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering applications.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.