Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bioengineers cut in half time needed to make high-tech flexible sensors

29.10.2015

Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a method that cuts down by half the time needed to make high-tech flexible sensors for medical applications. The advance brings the sensors, which can be used to monitor vital signs and brain activity, one step closer to mass-market manufacturing.

The new fabrication process will allow bioengineers to broaden the reach of their research to more clinical settings. It also makes it possible to manufacture the sensors with a process similar to the printing press, said Todd Coleman, a bioengineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. Researchers describe their work in a recent issue of the journal Sensors.


A researcher works in the Nano3 cleanroom at the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego to manufacture the sensors. Full video of the process here: https://youtu.be/mdoBHQhrVlQ

Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego

"A clinical need is what drove us to change our fabrication process," Coleman said.

Coleman's team at UC San Diego has been working in medical settings for four years. Their sensors have been used to monitor premature babies, pregnant women, patients in Intensive Care Units and patients suffering from sleep disorders.

Coleman and colleagues quickly found out that nurses wanted the sensors to come in a peel-and-stick form, like a medical-grade Band Aid. The medium on which the sensors were placed also needed to be FDA-approved.

The sensors' original fabrication process involved 10 steps--five of which had to take place in a clean room. Also, the steps to remove the sensors from the silicon wafer they're built on alone took anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. And the sensors remained fragile and susceptible to rips and tears.

But what if you could use the adhesive properties of a Band Aid-like medium to help peel off the sensors from the silicon wafer easily and quickly? Wouldn't that make the process much simpler--and faster? That was the question that Dae Kang, a Jacobs School Ph.D. student in Coleman's research group, set out to answer. The result of his efforts is a process that comprises only six steps--three of them in the clean room. The steps that took 10 to 20 minutes before now take just 35 seconds.

Kang created a coating about 20 to 50 micrometers thick, made of a silicon-like material called an elastomer, to easily remove the sensors, made of gold and chromium, from the silicon wafer. This was tricky work. The coating had be sticky enough to allow researchers to build the sensors in the first place, but loose enough to allow them to peel off the wafer.

"It's a Goldilocks problem," Coleman said.

The new process doesn't require any chemical solvents. That means the sensors can be peeled off with any kind of adhesive, from scotch tape to a lint roller, as researchers demonstrated in the study.

Coleman's team also showed that the sensors could be fabricated on a curved, flexible film typically used to manufacture flexible printed circuits and the outside layer of spacesuits. Researchers were able to easily peel off the sensors from the curved film without compromising their functioning.

In order to make the sensors more like peel-off stickers, researchers essentially had to build the sensors upside down so that their functioning part would be exposed after they were removed from the wafer. This was key to allow for easy processing with a single peel-off step.

Researchers also demonstrated that the sensors they built with the new fabrication process were functional. They placed a sensor on a subject's forehead and hooked it up to an electroencephalography machine. The sensors were able to detect a special brain signal present only when the subject's eyes were closed--a classic electroencephalogram testing procedure. The researchers also demonstrated that these sensors are able to detect other electrical rhythms of the body, such as the heart's electrical activity detected during an electro-cardiogram or EKG.

Media Contact

Ioana Patringenaru
ipatrin@eng.ucsd.edu
858-822-0899

 @UCSanDiego

http://www.ucsd.edu 

Ioana Patringenaru | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>