Posted on Sep 05, 2013, 6 a.m.
Printed biocompatible components based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology pave the way towards smart prosthetics.
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) depend on micro- and nano-sized components, such as membranes, converting electrical signals into movement. For years, MEMS membranes and MEMS components, were primarily fabricated from silicon using a set of processes borrowed from the semiconductor industry. Yosi Shacham-Diamand, from Tel Aviv University (Israel), and colleagues have developed a new printing process that yields rubbery, paper-thin membranes made of a particular kind of organic polymer. This material has specific properties that make it attractive for micro- and nano-scale sensors and actuators. More importantly, the polymer membranes are more suitable for implantation in the human body than their silicon counterparts, which partially stems from the fact that they are hundreds of times more flexible than conventional materials. This printing process also is capable of producing polymer membranes for use in smart prosthetics. Switching existing bionic organs and tissues to MEMS made with the polymer membranes could help make such prosthetics more comfortable, efficient, and safer for use on or inside the body.
Jenny Shklovsky, Leeya Engel, Yelena Sverdlov, Yosi Shacham-Diamand, Slava Krylov. “Nano-imprinting lithography of P(VDF–TrFE–CFE) for flexible freestanding MEMS devices.” Microelectronic Engineering, Volume 100, December 2012, Pages 41-46.