Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with large aspect ratios and excellent electrical properties can enhance the killing effect of nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) on tumor cells, which can improve the electrical safety of nsPEF during tumor treatment. To study the mechanism of the CNT-enhanced killing effect of a nsPEF on tumor cells, a spherical, single-cell, five-layer dielectric model containing randomly distributed CNTs was established using COMSOL and MATLAB, and then, the effects of the addition of CNTs on the electric field and the electroporation effect on the inner and outer membranes were analyzed. The results showed that CNTs can enhance the local electric field strength due to a lightning rod effect, and the closer the CNT tip was to the cell, the greater the electric field strength was around the cell. This increase in the local electric field strength near the cells enhanced the electroporation effects, including pore density, pore area, and pore flux. The simulation results presented in this paper provide theoretical guidance for subsequent development of nsPEF combined with CNTs for use in both cell and tissue experiments.

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