Three-Dimensional Printing of Cytocompatible, Thermally Conductive Hexagonal Boron Nitride Nanocomposites

Nano Letters 2018 Volume 18, Issue 6, 3488-3493

Hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is a thermally conductive yet electrically insulating two-dimensional layered nanomaterial that has attracted significant attention as a dielectric for high-performance electronics in addition to playing a central role in thermal management applications. Here, we report a high-content hBN-polymer nanocomposite ink, which can be 3D printed to form mechanically robust, self-supporting constructs. In particular, hBN is dispersed in poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) and 3D printed at room temperature through an extrusion process to form complex architectures. These constructs can be 3D printed with a composition of up to 60% vol hBN (solids content) while maintaining high mechanical flexibility and stretchability. The presence of hBN within the matrix results in enhanced thermal conductivity (up to 2.1 W K–1 m–1) directly after 3D printing with minimal postprocessing steps, suggesting utility in thermal management applications. Furthermore, the constructs show high levels of cytocompatibility, making them suitable for use in the field of printed bioelectronics.