E-bioadhesive interface enables stable bidirectional bioelectronic communications
Bin ZHOU, Yingying XIA | 10/20/2020

Despite vibrant innovations in bioelectronic devices and their ever advanced applications, integrating bioelectronic devices to the human body still relies on century-old conventional methods such as surgical suturing or physical attachment (Figure 1).

These old approaches suffer from various limitations and challenges, including non-conformal contact, unstable electrical communications, and/or tissue damage. For example, surgically sutured epicardial pacing wires (used for short-term cardiac pacing after cardiac surgeries) often cause dreaded and life-threatening complications such as arrhythmias and tamponade.

Figure 1. Traditional approaches for tissue-device integration.

Associate Professor Chuan-Fei Guo’s team collaborated with a research team at MIT, came up with a new approach for tissue-device integration, and published a paper entitled “Electrical bioadhesive interface for bioelectronics” on Nature Materials (IF= 38.663).

This work introduces an electrical bioadhesive interface capable of robust integration and stable electrical communication of devices to wet dynamic tissues, offering a promising route to bioadhesive electronics.

Figure 2. Electrical bioadhesive interface for bioadhesive electronics

In this work, an electrical bioadhesive (e-bioadhesive) is placed between bioelectronic devices and wet dynamic tissues, forming a robust, conformal, and electrical interface (Figure 2). The e-bioadhesive interface is enabled by a thin layer of a graphene nanocomposite that can readily adhere to bioelectronic devices to wet dynamic tissue surfaces. When the dry e-bioadhesive interface contacts a wet tissue surface, it removes water from this surface by hydration and subsequent anisotropic swelling, forming rapid and robust integration with the tissue surface within 5 s. Furthermore, the e-bioadhesive interface can be benignly removed from the target tissue by applying a triggering solution, allowing on-demand and atraumatic retrieval of implanted bioelectronic devices.

Figure 3. E-bioadhesive interface for epicardial ECG recording.

Taking the unique advantages of the e-bioadhesive interface, we demonstrated several proof-of-concept applications of the e-bioadhesive interface, including in vivo epicardial ECG recording (Figure 3) and in vivo peripheral nerve stimulation. It is expected that this newly available capability can benefit a broad range of bioelectronic devices to upgrade them into bioadhesive electronics and offer new opportunities for novel bioelectronic devices and applications. This e-bioadhesive may also accelerate the translation and ultimate adoption of various bioelectronic devices into real clinical applications. Overall, the e-bioadhesive layer is expected to be a general platform for bioelectronic devices both in the academic and industrial sectors and provides valuable insights for the future development of biointegrative electronics.

For more details, check out the paper “Electrical bioadhesive interface for bioelectronics” on Nature Materials.

2020, 10-20
By Bin ZHOU, Yingying XIA

From the Series

Proofread ByEddy Salguero, Yingying XIA

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