Pitt researchers find that nanotube interactions with silk fibroins hold the key to developing flexible, degradable electronics
The silk fibers produced by Bombyx mori, the domestic silkworm, has been prized for millennia as a strong yet lightweight and luxurious material. Although synthetic polymers like nylon and polyester are less costly, they do not compare to silk’s natural qualities and mechanical properties. And according to research from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, silk combined with carbon nanotubes may lead to a new generation of biomedical devices and so-called transient, biodegradable electronics.
The study, “Promoting Helix-Rich Structure in Silk Fibroin Films through Molecular Interactions with Carbon Nanotubes and Selective Heating for Transparent Biodegradable Devices” (DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.8b00784), was featured on the Oct. 26 cover of the American Chemistry Society journal Applied Nano Materials.
“Silk is a very interesting material. It is made of natural fibers that humans have been using for thousands of years to make high quality textiles, but we as engineers have recently started to appreciate silk’s potential for many emerging applications such as flexible bioelectronics due to its unique biocompatibility, biodegradability and mechanical flexibility,” noted Mostafa Bedewy, assistant professor of industrial engineering at the Swanson School and lead author of the paper. “The issue is that if we want to use silk for such applications, we don’t want it to be in the form of fibers. Rather, we want to regenerate silk proteins, called fibroins, in the form of films that exhibit desired optical, mechanical and chemical properties.”
As explained by the authors in the video below, these regenerated silk fibroins (RSFs) however typically are chemically unstable in water and suffer from inferior mechanical properties, owing to the difficulty in precisely controlling the molecular structure of the fibroin proteins in RSF films. Bedewy and his NanoProduct Lab group, which also work extensively on carbon nanotubes (CNTs), thought that perhaps the molecular interactions between nanotubes and fibroins could enable “tuning” the structure of RSF proteins.
“One of the interesting aspects of CNTs is that, when they are dispersed in a polymer matrix and exposed to microwave radiation, they locally heat up,” Dr. Bedewy explained. “So we wondered whether we could leverage this unique phenomenon to create desired transformations in the fibroin structure around the CNTs in an “RSF-CNT” composite.”
According to Dr. Bedewy, the microwave irradiation, coupled with a solvent vapor treatment, provided a unique control mechanism for the protein structure and resulted in a flexible and transparent film comparable to synthetic polymers but one that could be both more sustainable and degradable. These RSF-CNT films have potential for use in flexible electronics, biomedical devices and transient electronics such as sensors that would be used for a desired period inside the body ranging from hours to weeks, and then naturally dissolve.
“We are excited about advancing this work further in the future, as we are looking forward to developing the science and technology aspects of these unique functional materials,” Dr. Bedewy said. “ From a scientific perspective, there is still a lot more to understand about the molecular interactions between the functionalization on nanotube surfaces and protein molecules. From an engineering perspective, we want to develop scalable manufacturing processes for taking cocoons of natural silk and transforming them into functional thin films for next generation wearable and implantable electronic devices.”
The Latest on: Degradable electronics
via Google News
The Latest on: Degradable electronics
- Screen Printed Passives and Interconnects on Bio-Degradable Medical Hydrocolloid Dressing for Wearable Sensorson November 25, 2019 at 2:19 am
We propose a screen-printed circuit board on bio-degradable hydrocolloid dressings ... This test is crucial for confirming the reliability of the fabricated wearable electronics as it resembles a ...
- Stretchable, Degradable Semiconductors | IDTechEx Research Articleon November 20, 2019 at 2:16 am
To seamlessly integrate electronics with the natural world, materials are needed that are both stretchable and degradable -- for example, flexible medical devices that conform to the surfaces of ...
- Stretchable, degradable semiconductorson November 13, 2019 at 5:01 am
To seamlessly integrate electronics with the natural world, materials are needed that are both stretchable and degradable—for example, flexible medical devices that conform to the surfaces of internal ...
- 2019 Innovations in Advanced Fabrics, Semiconducting Polymers, Graphene, Bio-degradable Straws & Bottles - ResearchAndMarkets.comon November 7, 2019 at 9:59 am
The "Innovations in Advanced Fabrics, Semiconducting Polymers, Graphene, Bio-degradable Straws and Bottles" report ... semiconducting polymer blends for use in high temperature electronics, liquid ...
- Global Recycled Thermoplastic Market is Expected to Reach USD 104.76 Billion by 2026 : Fior Marketson August 6, 2019 at 9:53 am
Rising demand for the thermoplastic materials for the various applications in electrical & electronics, automotive and manufacturing ... However, increasing use of bio-degradable thermoplastic as well ...
- AMOLED Displays Market to Outreach on Account of Technological Advancements and Usage of Degradable Material with USD 74.3 Billion by 2027on July 24, 2019 at 12:16 am
Usage of Degradable Material- the material used in the manufacturing ... AU Optronics, Beijing Opto-Electronics, Chimei Innolux Corp, Japan Display. The profiling enfolds key information of the ...
- Degradable electronic components created from corn starchon April 19, 2019 at 6:24 am
To help combat this environmental problem, researchers have modified a degradable bioplastic derived from corn ... or other natural sources and is already used in the packaging, electronics and ...
- New pressure sensor for medical uses dissolves in the patient’s bodyon January 16, 2018 at 5:19 pm
The degradable quality means surgeons won’t have to dig back ... In other words, the sensors could be attached directly to the sensitive area that needs monitoring while the electronics that ...
via Bing News