Researchers say that a flexible and implantable sensor that can monitor various forms of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas is important because these gases can significantly impact human health
IMAGE: Penn State
Sensors that monitor a patient’s condition during and after medical procedures can be expensive, uncomfortable and even dangerous. Now, an international team of researchers has designed a highly sensitive flexible gas sensor that can be implanted in the body — and, after it’s no longer needed, safely biodegrade into materials that are absorbed by the body.
In a study, the researchers reported they designed a flexible and implantable sensor that can monitor various forms of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas in the body. Monitoring these types of gases is important because they can play either a beneficial or, sometimes, harmful role in human health, according to Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and an affiliate of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences.
Nitric oxide, for example, which is produced naturally in the human body, plays an important role in health because it relaxes or widens blood vessels to enhance blood flow, allowing oxygen and nutrients to circulate through the body. On the other hand, exposure to nitrogen dioxide from the environment is linked to the progression of conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said Cheng, who is also affiliated with the Materials Research Institute. Nitric oxide is highly reactive and can be transformed into nitrogen dioxide when exposed to oxygen.
The team, which reports their findings in the current issue of NPG Asia Materials, available online now, added a twist to their sensor design by making it from materials that are not just implantable, flexible and stretchable, but also biodegradable. While current devices are used outside of the body to monitor gas levels, Cheng said they are bulky and potentially not as accurate as an implantable device. Implantable devices, however, need to be removed, which could mean another operation. The researchers investigated a design that does not need to be removed.
“Let’s say you have a cardiac surgical operation, the monitor outside of the body might not be sufficient to detect the gas,” said Cheng. “It might be much more beneficial to monitor the gas levels from the heart surface, or from those internal organs. This gas sensor is implantable, and biodegradable, as well, which is another research direction we’ve been working on. If the patient fully recovers from a surgical operation, they don’t need the device any longer, which makes biodegradable devices useful.”
According to the researchers, all of the components are biodegradable in water or in bodily fluids, but remain functional enough to capture the information on the gas levels. In this case, the researchers made the device’s conductors — the elements that conduct electricity — out of magnesium, and for the functional materials, they used silicon, which is also highly sensitive to nitric oxide.
The body can safely absorb all of the materials used in the device. An added benefit of the design is that the materials dissolve at a slow enough pace that would allow the sensors to function in the body during a patient’s recovery period.
“Silicon is unique — it’s the building block for modern electronics and people consider it to be super-stable,” said Cheng. “Silicon has been shown to be biodegradable, as well. It can dissolve in a really slow manner, at about one to two nanometers a day, depending on the environment.”
According to the researchers, the sensor was tested in humid conditions and aqueous solutions to show that it could stably perform in the harsh conditions of the body.
The team used computational resources of ICDS’s Roar supercomputer to create the computer simulations that can calculate extremely small changes caused by slight changes of shape, or deformations, of the material.
“We base the measurement on resistance, which can change based on the gas absorption, but it can also be changed due to the deformation,” said Cheng. “So, if we deform the sensor on the skin surface, that will cause a large force and a large change in resistance and we would have no idea whether the gas’ performance is from the deformation, or the exposed environment.”
The researchers say future work could look at designing integrated systems that could monitor other bodily functions for healthy aging and various disease applications.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Disposable Medical Devices Sensors Market Share Growth, Size Value, Trends, Rigonal outlook by 2028on June 9, 2021 at 1:41 pm
The emergence of sensor tool and incessant development in the technology play a fundamental function inside the increase ...
- Using light to monitor canceron June 8, 2021 at 5:50 am
Biosensors are emerging devices capable of analyzing such biosamples and look for substances indicative of disease. COVID-19 tests are the most current examples of biosensors. From body fluids ...
- Continuous Glucose Monitors Marketon June 3, 2021 at 5:59 am
Latest publication on 'Continuous Glucose Monitors - Medical Devices Pipeline Product Landscape, 2021' is added in HTF MI research reporsitory provides in-depth analysis, Competitive scenario, and ...
- Improved detection of atrial fibrillation could prevent disabling strokeson June 1, 2021 at 6:39 pm
Effect of Implantable vs Prolonged External Electrocardiographic Monitoring on Atrial Fibrillation Detection in Patients With Ischemic Stroke. JAMA , 2021; 325 (21): 2160 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2021 ...
- Developing Implantable Biosensorson May 31, 2021 at 4:59 pm
The implantable device also doesn’t require on-board power ... In addition to the above-mentioned end uses, Profusa’s biosensor could also be used to measure oxygen saturation in tissues of COPD and ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Process could pave the way for rapid detection of gluten in foodon June 11, 2021 at 12:01 am
Researchers from Spain’s Asociacion RUVID and Polytechnic University of Valencia have developed a technique for quickly detecting gluten in foods, thereby paving the way for a device that could ...
- COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits for self-testing to be 'sold by pharmacists' to the public from Jun 16: MOHon June 10, 2021 at 5:42 pm
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART) kits for self-testing will be "sold by pharmacists" to the public from Jun 16, said the Ministry of ...
- Bipolar Order: A Straightforward Technique to Have More Control Over Organic Thin Filmson June 9, 2021 at 2:34 am
Scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) combine bipolar electrochemistry with a 1980s technique called electrolytic micelle disruption to produce patterned organic thin films.
- An inventor’s journey to the Hall of Fameon June 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Join us for an inspiring conversation about innovation with Frances Ligler, National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee and leader in the optical biosensor industry, and Drew Hirshfeld, performing the ...
- Researchers create new optical biosensor to detect canceron June 8, 2021 at 3:23 am
The new biosensor uses two specific functions including nanophotonics and data science techniques. The chips themselves are constructed out of nanostructures made from silicon. Nanostructure ...