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 Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress
22.02.2019 | Lobachevsky University

nachricht How the intestinal fungus Candida albicans shapes our immune system
22.02.2019 | Exzellenzcluster Präzisionsmedizin für chronische Entzündungserkrankungen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: (Re)solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, a so-called jet, emerging from the only gravitational wave event involving two neutron stars observed so far. With its high sensitivity and excellent performance, the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg played an important role in the observations.

In August 2017, two neutron stars were observed colliding, producing gravitational waves that were detected by the American LIGO and European Virgo detectors....

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

JILA researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

22.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Understanding high efficiency of deep ultraviolet LEDs

22.02.2019 | Materials Sciences

Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress

22.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>