Biomaterial Ink for Designing 3D Printable Flexible Bioelectronics and Soft Robotics

  • 3D printable and customizable
  • Tailored mechanical properties
  • Biocompatible

Abstract
Overview

Currently,the bulk of bioelectronic devices being fabricated still utilize materials which are mechanically and compositionally disparate from anatomical tissues. Many such implants are made of inorganic electronics that employ elements like Si, W, Au, Pt etc. which may result in rigid and non-compliant devices that are incompatible when integrating with soft tissue structures. Biological tissues also possess significant water content and dispersed ionic species/moieties, often lacking in current devices which subsequently do not support long-term integration and retention. Moreover, traditional systems frequently demonstrate low signal accuracy, poor biocompatibility, and face trade-offs between conductivity and mechanical stiffness under physiological conditions. Thus, there is a need for developing flexible and customizable electronic biointerfaces that integrate external hardware with the human body.

Technology

In this technology we have developed a class of shear-thinning hydrogels as biomaterial inks for 3D printing flexible bioelectronics. These hydrogels are engineered through a facile vacancy-driven gelation of MoS2 nano assemblies with naturally derived polymer-thiolated gelatin. Due to shear-thinning properties, these nanoengineered hydrogels can be printed into complex shapes that can respond to mechanical deformation. The chemically cross-linked nanoengineered hydrogels demonstrate a 20-fold rise in compressive moduli and can withstand up to 80% strain without permanent deformation, meeting human anatomical flexibility. The nanoengineered network exhibits high conductivity, compressive modulus, pseudo-capacitance, and biocompatibility. The 3D-printed cross-linked structure demonstrates excellent strain sensitivity and can be used as wearable electronics to detect various motion dynamics. Overall, the nanoengineered hydrogels conceived through this technology offer improved mechanical, electronic, and biological characteristics for various emerging biomedical applications.

Contact Information

Name: Shyamala Rajagopalan

Email: SRajagopalan@tamu.edu

Phone: 979-862-3002