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New 3D stretchable electronics can advance organ-on-chip technology

Date: 31.5.2023 

Engineers from UNSW Sydney have discovered a way to create flexible electronic systems on ultra-thin skin-like materials. Flexible electronic nanomembranes show promise for revolutionary organ-on-chip technologies, potentially reducing the need for animal testing in medical research.

Kredit: Thanh-An Truong.The development allows entire stretchable 3D structures to operate like a semiconductor and could help significantly reduce the need for animal testing by making so-called organ-on-chip technology more effective.

Down the track, the technology could also be used in wearable health monitoring systems or implantable biomedical applications, such as a system to alert people with epilepsy of an imminent seizure.

The research team, led by Dr. Hoang-Phuong Phan from UNSW's School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, have published their findings in Advanced Functional Materials. Their new process involves using lithography – a technique that uses light to print tiny patterns – to fabricate wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride onto very thin and flexible nanomembranes on a polymer substrate.

Those semiconductor membranes provide sensing, recording, and stimulation functionalities even while being stretched and twisted into any conceivable 3D shape.

Image source: Thanh-An Truong.





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