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Sensors/MEMS??

New technology focuses on low-cost, implantable sensors

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:implantable sensor? organ transplant rejection. silicon?

In the study, Berger's team tested whether electrolytes could be blocked from entering silicon with a layer of aluminium oxide.

The researchers submerged the coated test sensors in fluid for up to 24 hours, removed them from the solution, and then ran a voltage across them to see if they were working properly. The tests showed that the oxide coating effectively blocked electrolytes from the solution so the sensors remained fully functional.

Once developed, a device using this technology could detect certain proteins that the body produces when it's just beginning to reject a transplanted organ. Doctors would insert a needle into the patient's body near the site of the implanted organ. Silicon sensors on the needle would detect the protein, and doctors would know how to tailor the patient's dosage of anti-rejection drugs based on the sensor readings.

The work represents a first step towards fabricating devices that could be implanted in the body long-term, Berger added.

Though the current study describes a silicon sensor coated with aluminium oxide, he envisions that other devices could use coatings made from other materials such as titanium. Such coatings could even be tailored to boost the performance of sensors or other biomedical devices.

In particular, Berger sees a potential use for coated polymer semiconductors that goes beyond sensing chemicals in the body. He suspects that such semiconductors could replace nerves in the body that have been damaged by disease or injury.

Berger's team is working with Ohio State researchers Tom Rosol, professor of veterinary biosciences, and Phillip Popovich, professor of neuroscience, to explore that possibility.


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