Fibers having a diameter smaller than 100 nanometers can be produced through electrospinning, a method widely known for the past 40 years. There are, however, a number of disadvantages of solution electrospinning associated with the use of volatile solvents.
First, there is a safety problem, particularly when the electrospun fibers are to be used in biomedical applications, such as tissue scaffolds, wound dressings, artificial skin, and drug delivery systems, since it is necessary to ensure that there is no residual solvent in the fibers.
There is also a problem of very low-productivity since more than 90% of the mixture being electrospun evaporates during the process, so that productivities as low as 0.01 g/min are common. The toxicity and cost of most solvents used in solution electrospinning means that solvent recycling is necessary on both environmental and economic grounds; such processes can be both expensive and complex.