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Home > News > Silicon gets silky

January 25th, 2010

Silicon gets silky

Abstract:
Research being conducted in the US could make it far easier to implant electronics in the human body.

By combining silk and electronics, fields like cardiology and neurology may be transformed over the next decade, by enabling ultra high resolution electrical and chemical interaction with three dimensional biological surfaces. It could also mean that virtually all problems associated with the immune system reacting against the implant are eliminated - and that is because much of the implanted systems dissolve almost completely over time.

Arrays of transistors have already been demonstrated working on thin films of silk and, instead of the electronics systems being enclosed to protect them from the body, there is no need for protection; the silk enables the electronics to conform to biological tissue. The silk dissolves over time and because the circuits are so thin, just nanometres thick, they cause no irritation.

The combination of silicon electronics, based on nanomembranes of silicon, with biodegradable thin film substrates of silk protein, yield a flexible system and device that is largely resorbable in the body," the researchers say. "The use of silicon provides high performance, good reliability, and robust operation. Silk is attractive, compared to other biodegradable polymers … because of its robust mechanical properties, the ability to tailor the dissolution, and/or biodegradation rates from hours to years, the formation of noninflammatory amino acid degradation products, and the option to prepare the materials at ambient conditions to preserve sensitive electronic functions."

Source:
newelectronics.co.uk

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