Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Stick-On Tattoos Go Electric: Micro-electronics, elegant design and existing tattoo tech combine to create a complex device that is far more than a novelty

The newly developed device, an epidermal electronic system created by an international team of engineers and scientists.

Credit: J. Rogers, University of Illinois
The newly developed device, an epidermal electronic system created by an international team of engineers and scientists.

Credit: J. Rogers, University of Illinois

Abstract:
Through a combination of careful theoretical modeling and precise micro-manufacturing, a team of engineers and scientists has developed a new type of ultra-thin, self-adhesive electronics device that can effectively measure data about the human heart, brain waves and muscle activity--all without the use of bulky equipment, conductive fluids or glues.



One of the advantages of the newly created epidermal electronic systems is easy on / easy off application. As this video shows, the electronics have the right physical propertie--such as stiffness, bending rigidity, thickness and mass density--to perfectly match to the epidermis. The systems seamlessly integrate and conform to the surface of the skin in a way that is mechanically invisible to the user, and the devices have the potential to provide a range of healthcare and non-healthcare related functions.

Credit: J. Rogers, University of Illinois

Stick-On Tattoos Go Electric: Micro-electronics, elegant design and existing tattoo tech combine to create a complex device that is far more than a novelty

Arlington, VA | Posted on August 13th, 2011

The researchers have created a new class of micro-electronics with a technology that they call an epidermal electronic system (EES). They have incorporated miniature sensors, light-emitting diodes, tiny transmitters and receivers and networks of carefully crafted wire filaments into their initial designs.

The technology is presented--along with initial measurements that researchers captured using the EES--in a paper by lead author Dae-Hyeong Kim of the University of Illinois and colleagues in the Aug. 12, 2011, issue of Science.

The EES device was developed by collaborators from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Tufts University, the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore, and Dalian University of Technology in China.

"Our goal was to develop an electronic technology that could integrate with the skin in a way that is mechanically and physiologically invisible to the user," says corresponding author John Rogers, a professor in materials science and engineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "We found a solution that involves devices we designed to achieve physical properties that match to the epidermis itself. It's a technology that blurs the distinction between electronics and biology."

While existing technologies accurately measure heart rate, brain waves and muscle activity, EES devices offer the opportunity to seamlessly apply sensors that have almost no weight, no external wires and require negligible power.

Because of the small power requirements, the devices can draw power from stray (or transmitted) electromagnetic radiation through the process of induction and can harvest a portion of their energy requirements from miniature solar collectors.

The EES designs yield flat devices that are less than 50-microns thick--thinner than the diameter of a human hair--which are integrated onto the polyester backing familiar from stick-on tattoos.

The devices are so thin that close-contact forces called van der Waals interactions dominate the adhesion at the molecular level, so the electronic tattoos adhere to the skin without any glues and stay in place for hours.

The recent study demonstrated device lifetimes of up to 24 hours under ideal conditions.

"The mechanics behind the design for our serpentine-shaped electronics makes the device as soft as the human skin," says Northwestern University engineer Yonggang Huang, also a lead researcher on the project. "The design enables brittle, inorganic semiconductors to achieve extremely vast stretchability and flexibility. Plus, the serpentine design is very useful for self adhesion to any surface without using glues."

While some areas of the body are ill-suited to adhesive electronics, such as the elbow, most regions commonly targeted for medical and experimental studies are ideal, including the forehead, extremities and the chest.

Regions of the body that previously proved difficult to fit with sensors may now be monitored, including the throat, which the researchers studied to observe muscle activity during speech.

The throat experiment yielded enough precision for the research team to differentiate words in vocabulary and even control a voice-activated video game interface with greater than 90 percent accuracy.

"This type of device might provide utility for those who suffer from certain diseases of the larynx," adds Rogers. "It could also form the basis of a sub-vocal communication capability, suitable for covert or other uses."

The current innovation builds upon six years of collaboration between Rogers and Huang, who had earlier partnered to develop flexible electronics for hemispherical camera sensors and other devices that conform to complex shapes.

"This work is really just beginning," adds Rogers. "On the technology side, our focus is on wireless communication and improved solutions for power-such as batteries, storage capacitors and mechanical energy harvesters-to complement the inductive and solar concepts that we demonstrate in the present paper."

The researchers are also exploring clinical approaches, particularly for ailments where sensor size is critical, such as sleep apnea and neonatal care.

Much further into the future, the researchers hope to incorporate microfluidic devices into their technology, opening up a new arena of electronic bandages and enhanced-functioning skin, potentially accelerating wound healing or treating burns and other skin conditions.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation through the grants OISE-1043143, CMMI-0749028 and ECCS-0824129 and the United States Air Force, Department of Energy and Beckman Institute.

####

About National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Joshua A. Chamot
NSF
(703) 292-7730


Kyle Delaney
Northwestern University
(847) 467-4010


Liz Ahlberg
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(217) 244-1073


Co-Investigators
Yonggang Huang
Northwestern University
(847) 467-3165


John Rogers
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(217) 244-4979


Copyright © National Science Foundation

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance: Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs March 10th, 2017

Research opens door to smaller, cheaper, more agile communications tech February 16th, 2017

Dual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displays February 11th, 2017

Flexible Electronics

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires January 24th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Advance in intense pulsed light sintering opens door to improved electronics manufacturing December 23rd, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Electro-optical switch transmits data at record-low temperatures: Operating at temperatures near absolute zero, switch could enable significantly faster data processing with lower power consumption March 20th, 2017

Chip Technology

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Pulverizing e-waste is green, clean -- and cold: Rice, Indian Institute researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated powders March 21st, 2017

Electro-optical switch transmits data at record-low temperatures: Operating at temperatures near absolute zero, switch could enable significantly faster data processing with lower power consumption March 20th, 2017

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Nanoparticle paves the way for new triple negative breast cancer drug March 20th, 2017

Block copolymer micellization as a protection strategy for DNA origami March 17th, 2017

Nanocages for gold particles: what is happening inside? March 16th, 2017

Biophysicists propose new approach for membrane protein crystallization March 8th, 2017

Sensors

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

Optical fingerprint can reveal pollutants in the air: Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have proposed a new, sophisticated method of detecting molecules with sensors based on ultra-thin nanomaterials March 15th, 2017

New optical nanosensor improves brain mapping accuracy, opens way for more applications: Potassium-sensitive fluorescence-imaging method shines light on chemical activity within the brain March 3rd, 2017

Smart multi-layered magnetic material acts as an electric switch: New study reveals characteristic of islands of magnetic metals between vacuum gaps, displaying tunnelling electric current March 1st, 2017

Announcements

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

New nanofiber marks important step in next generation battery development March 14th, 2017

Imaging the inner workings of a sodium-metal sulfide battery for first time: Understanding how the structural and chemical makeup of the material changes during the charge/discharge process could help scientists advance battery design for future energy storage needs March 9th, 2017

Tweaking electrolyte makes better lithium-metal batteries: A pinch of electrolyte additive gives rechargeable battery stability, longer life March 2nd, 2017

Triboelectric Nanogenerators Boost Mass Spectrometry Performance March 1st, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project