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Flexible electronics technology could lead to new medical devices

Flexible electronics technology could lead to new medical devices. Image courtesy of Wayne State University

A US researcher has developed a flexible electronics technology compatible with SOI cmos processes which could open up new possibilities for medical devices.

Yong Xu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Wayne State University, says his technology offers an advantage over existing approaches such as transfer printing.

The method fabricates cmos circuits onto SOI wafers, and then uses two layers of polymer Parylene C, one of which is perforated, to bond them to flexible substrates.

This allows more electronic devices to be attached to the flexible surface by eliminating the transfer printing step, in which electronics are removed from a harder surface and integrated into a softer one. The process also allows sensors and microfluidic devices to be integrated into the flexible substrate.

The lamination of the electronics between the parylene layers also offers the benefit of protection from environmental moisture. Parylene C has been used in other medical applications and is said to be well tolerated by human tissue.

"The ultimate goal is to develop flexible and stretchable systems integrated with electronics, sensors, microfluidics, and power sources, which will have a profound impact on personalised medicine, telemedicine and health care delivery," Xu commented.

Author
Simon Fogg

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