ACS: Electronic Skin Patches Developed for Medical Use

Potential applications include wireless monitoring and treatment

WEDNESDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new electronic skin patch has been developed and offers a range of functional components, according to a study presented at the Spring 2012 National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, held from March 25 to 29 in San Diego.

John Rogers, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, developed an electronic skin patch that is matched to the skin's epidermis and includes electronic circuits in a silicon-based wafer.

The researchers produced a device with a thickness of approximately 30 microns, with effective elastic moduli, bending stiffness, and areal mass density matched to the epidermis. The patches were laminated onto skin, resulting in conformal contact, intimate integration, and adequate adhesion based solely on van der Waals interactions. The device can contain a range of functional components, including monitors of electrophysiological signals, temperature and strain sensors, transistors, light-emitting diodes, photodetectors, and elements capable of radio frequency operation.

"A key feature of our epidermal electronics is its natural interface to the body, without wires, pins, adhesives or gels, to allow a much more comfortable and functional system," Rogers said in a statement. "The technology can be used to monitor brain, heart, or muscle activity in a completely noninvasive way, while a patient is at home."

Rogers is co-founder of the company mc10, which installs the electronic patches on medical instruments.

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