Bioresorbable bioelectronics aim to produce technologies that monitor/modulate biological functions and safely integrate into life and the environment. It prospects to eliminate the need for bioelectronic implants retrieval and to produce zero waste solutions for consumer electronics.
The integration of degradable substrates with water-soluble electronic components (metals and semiconductors) led to the first examples of bioresorbable electronic implants. A key challenge is to develop devices combining high performance, stable operation, and controlled degradation at the end of their life cycle. Current hydrolysable materials suffer from inadequate lifetime, uncontrolled bulk degradation, and/or poor performance. Advanced bioresorbable microelectronics would require components that degrade in biological environments by the action of enzymes – something that cannot be achieved with conventional metal-oxide semiconductors.
Conjugated polymers offer transport of both ions and electrons, low operating voltages, and flexibility – features exploited to improve state-of-the-art bioelectronic devices and interfaces – and, most importantly, the potential to undergo enzymatic breakdown. Yet, there is currently no example of a conjugated polymer and device thereof combining all the required properties.
This project develops the first example of bioresorbable organic bioelectronic devices that are degraded in situ by the action of specific enzymes. It integrates aspects from materials chemistry (polymer design), organic electronics (device design), and cellular biology (biodegradation and toxicity). Key focus is to integrate device components that provide high performance and that are eroded by enzymes normally secreted by immune cells during inflammation and tissue regeneration. This interdisciplinary approach suggests a promising future across different fields – from fundamental aspects of polymers degradation and toxicity to the next generation bioelectronic interfaces.
Fields of science
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