OSA-Direct
Friday, 20 Oct 2017

Fraunhofer FEP announces biodegradable electronics project

An interesting application is in the field of active medical implants that after expiration of their operating life are reabsorbed back into the body

Fraunhofer FEP - Biodegradable conductor structures on biodegradable polymer film

11 Oct 2017 | Editor

The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft e. V. is now funding the "bioElektron – Biodegradable Electronics for Active Implants" project through its in-house program (funding No. MAVO B31 301).

The goal of the project is the development of essential components for biodegradable electronic parts that can be employed for example in an implant.

The bioElektron project partners are; The Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS, the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, and the Fraunhofer Resource Recycling and Strategy Project Group IWKS are working together on the project.

The project will focus on:

  • biodegradable conductor structures
  • biodegradable electrodes for collecting electrical signals or delivering electrical stimulation
  • biodegradable thin-film transistors and circuitry
  • biodegradable barrier coatings as moisture and gas barriers, and electrical insulation layers

These elements will be monolithically integrated into a flexible thin-film device.

Conductor structures and organic thin-film transistors are being developed at Fraunhofer FEP using vacuum technology. Deposition of magnesium via thermal evaporation under high vacuum conditions is being used as an enabling technology for this purpose. Magnesium is known for being a biodegradable and biologically compatible metal that is already employed in clinical environments as an absorbable implant material.

The challenge consists of depositing this metal upon biodegradable polymer films that magnesium does not adhere sufficiently to under normal process control. By suitably pre-treating the substrates using a combination of drying, plasma treatment, and utilisation of seed layers, finely structured high-quality conductor structures were able to be produced.

Electronic components that are completely broken down in a biological environment after a pre-defined operating life open up novel applications as well as ways for reducing their ecological footprint.

One enabling technology for such components is the manufacture of biodegradable conductive traces on biodegradable substrates using vacuum technologies. This technology was developed by Fraunhofer FEP.

An interesting novel application for these innovative electronic components for example is in the field of active medical implants that after expiration of their operating life are reabsorbed by tissue, thereby sparing the patient a second surgical intervention.

"We are now prepared to discuss these results with interested partners from industry and the scientific community during productronica 2017 at the Silicon-Saxony joint booth (Hall B1, Booth B1-416) in order to be able to implement them in current practical applications"

Dr. Michael Hoffmann, Fraunhofer FEP and head of the bioElektron project

www.fep.fraunhofer.de    www.fep.fraunhofer.de/en/ueber-uns/projekte/bioElektron.html   


About Fraunhofer FEP

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP works on innovative solutions in the fields of vacuum coating, surface treatment as well as organic semiconductors. The core competences electron beam technology, sputtering and plasma-activated deposition, high-rate PECVD as well as technologies for the organic electronics and IC/system design provide a basis for these activities.

Thus, Fraunhofer FEP offers a wide range of possibilities for research, development and pilot production, especially for the processing, sterilization, structuring and refining of surfaces as well as OLED microdisplays, organic and inorganic sensors, optical filters and flexible OLED lighting. Our aim is to seize the innovation potential of the electron beam, plasma technology and organic electronics for new production processes and devices and to make it available for our customers.

Source: Fraunhofer FEP


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