Flexible Silicon Medical Device Created

EVANSTON, Ill., March 24 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they have developed a thin, flexible and stretchable electronic device to help locate and treat abnormal heart rhythms.

Scientists from Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and the University of Pennsylvania say they are the first to demonstrate a flexible silicon electronic device used for a medical application. The researchers said their device produces high-density maps of a beating heart’s electrical activity, providing potential means to localize and treat abnormal heart rhythms.


Researchers said the technology holds promise for a new generation of flexible, implantable medical devices, as well as flexible sensors, transmitters and photovoltaic and microfluidic devices.

“The heart is dynamic and not flat, but electronics currently used for monitoring are flat and rigid,” said Northwestern Professor Yonggang Huang, a senior author of the paper. “Our electronics have a wavy mesh design so they can wrap around irregular and curved surfaces, like the beating heart. The device is thin, flexible and stretchable and brings electronic circuits right to the tissue.”

The device is based on flexible electronics developed in 2008 by Huang, Professor John Rogers at the University of Illinois and Associate Professor Brian Litt of the University of Pennsylvania.

The research that included Professor Jianliang Xiao of Northwestern; Dae-Hyeong Kim and Yun-Soung Kim of the University of Illinois; and Jonathan Viventi, Justin Blanco, Nicholas Annetta, Andrew Hicks, Joshua Moss and David Callans of the University of Pennsylvania appears as the cover story in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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