Nav: Home

Boosting the lifetime and effectiveness of biomedical devices

March 03, 2017

Modern electronic biomedical devices are enabling a wide range of sophisticated health interventions, from seizure detection and Parkinson's disease therapy to functional artificial limbs, cochlear implants, and smart contact lenses.

An effective direct interfacing material is essential to communication between these devices and neural tissue, which includes nerves and the brain.

In recent years, a conjugated polymer known as PEDOT -- widely used in applications such as energy conversion and storage, organic light-emitting diodes, electrochemical transistors, and sensing -- has been investigated for its potential to serve as this interface.

In some cases, however, the low mechanical stability and relatively limited adhesion of conjugated polymers like PEDOT -- short for poly (3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene) -- on solid substrates can limit the lifetime and performance of these devices. Mechanical failure might also leave behind undesirable residue in the tissue.

Now, a research team led by the University of Delaware's David Martin has reported the development of an electrografting approach to significantly enhance PEDOT adhesion on solid substrates. The breakthrough is documented in a paper published in Science Advances on March 3.

Martin, the Karl W. and Renate Böer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, explains that the term electrografting describes a process in which organic molecules are electrochemically oxidized or reduced, followed by the formation of metal-organic bonds at the substrate-polymer interface.

Compared to other methods, surface modification through electro-grafting takes just minutes. Another advantage is that a variety of materials can be used as the conducting substrate, including gold, platinum, glassy carbon, stainless steel, nickel, silicon, and metal oxides.

The actual chemistry usually takes multiple steps, but Martin and his team have developed a simple, two-step approach for creating PEDOT films that strongly bond with metal and metal oxide substrates, yet remain electrically active.

"Our results suggest that this is an effective means to selectively modify microelectrodes with highly adherent and highly conductive polymer coatings as direct neural interfaces," Martin says.
-end-


University of Delaware

Related Neural Tissue Articles:

Method elucidates inner workings of neural networks
A new technique helps elucidate the inner workings of neural networks trained on visual data.
Stretching the boundaries of neural implants
New nanowire-coated, stretchy, multifunction fibers can be used to stimulate and monitor the spinal cord while subjects are in motion, MIT researchers report.
Neural networks promise sharpest ever images
Telescopes, the workhorse instruments of astronomy, are limited by the size of the mirror or lens they use.
Artificial synapse for neural networks
A new organic artificial synapse made by Stanford researchers could support computers that better recreate the way the human brain processes information.
Neural stem cells serve as RNA highways too
Duke scientists have caught the first glimpse of molecules shuttling along a sort of highway running the length of neural stem cells, which are crucial to the development of new neurons.
Neurobiology: Epigenetics and neural cell death
Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have demonstrated how deregulation of an epigenetic mechanism that is active only in the early phases of neurogenesis triggers the subsequent death of neural cells.
Neural stem cells control their own fate
To date, it has been assumed that the differentiation of stem cells depends on the environment they are embedded in.
Here's how deep learning neural networks are designed
World Scientific's latest book 'Deep Learning Neural Networks: Design and Case Studies' shows how DLNN can be a powerful computational tool for solving prediction, diagnosis, detection and decision problems based on a well-defined computational architecture.
Neural networks to obtain synthetic petroleum
The UPV/EHU's Catalytic Processes for Waste Valorisation research group is working on various lines of research relating to renewable energies, one of which corresponds to the obtaining of bio-oils or synthetic petroleum using biomass.
Neural connections mapped with unprecedented detail
A team of neuroscientists at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, in Lisbon, has been able to map single neural connections over long distances in the brain.

Related Neural Tissue Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...