Department of Biomedical Engineering and Simpson Querrey Institute
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Abstract: Direct measurement and stimulation of ionic, biomolecular, cellular, and tissue-scale activity is a staple of bioelectronic diagnosis and/or therapy. Such bi-directional interfacing can be enhanced by a unique set of properties imparted by organic electronic materials. These materials, based on conjugated polymers, can be adapted for use in biological settings and show significant molecular-level interaction with their local environment, readily swell, and provide soft, seamless mechanical matching with tissue. At the same time, their swelling and mixed conduction allows for enhanced ionic-electronic coupling for transduction of biosignals. Structure-transport properties allow us to better understand and design these active materials, providing further insight into the role of molecular design and processing on ionic and electronic transport, charging phenomena, and stability for the development of high-performance devices. Such properties stress the importance of bulk transport processes and serve to enable new capabilities in bioelectronics. In this talk I will discuss the design of new organic mixed conductors and future design rules for performance and stability. I will demonstrate how such materials properties relax design constraints and enable new device concepts and unique form factors, allowing for flexible amplification systems for electrophysiological recordings, and electroactive scaffolds to modulate tissue state and/or cell fate. New materials design continues to fill critical need gaps for challenging problems in bio-electronic interfacing.
Faculty Host: Dr. John Anthony