Bioelectronics is a new discipline formed by the mutual penetration of biology and electronic information science. The development of bioelectronics fully reflects the interdependence and mutual promotion of the above two disciplines. The research of bioelectronics includes two aspects: one is to study the electronics of biological systems, including the electronic properties of biomolecules, information storage and information transmission in biological systems. The second is to apply the theory and technology of electronic information science to solve biological problems, including biological information acquisition, biological information analysis, as well as the development of biomedical detection technology and auxiliary treatment technology combined with nanotechnology, and the development of miniature detection instruments. By imitating the biological structure, different conductive polymer compounds can be designed. Many biomimetic materials have been synthesized so that various bioelectronic components can be developed in response to the needs of different fields.
- Biomedical photonics: In recent years, bioelectronic materials have been widely used in the field of biomedicine, and the so-called "bioprinting" concept has been proposed. Bioprinting generally refers to constructing organic or inorganic materials with various functions into one-dimensional, two-dimensional or three-dimensional biologically functional devices or tissue engineering scaffolds by printing. "Bioelectronic printing" technology is to use nano-materials with electromagnetic activity (including carbon nanotubes, graphene, conductive polymers, magnetic nanoparticles, etc.) to construct biocompatible two-dimensional and three-dimensional scaffolds using printing methods. Then on these printed and chemically modified scaffolds are engaged in controlled cell growth (including stem cell differentiation) and the formation of functional tissue. This process can be controlled and optimized by external electrical stimulation methods, and finally a new product with biological functions that may be used for medical detection, diagnosis and treatment or new technology is produced, such as artificial skin, neural catheters, artificial blood vessels, controlled differentiation of stem cells, controlled drug release, drug screening, poison detection, ribonucleic acid and protein detection, etc.
Figure 1. Bioelectronic printing technology
- Implantable/wearable bio-optical devices: Using the phase separation process of graphene/polyvinylidene fluoride/polyurethane DMF system in the aqueous phase, polymer nanospheres can be prepared for repair decorated graphene porous network fiber. This structure greatly enhances the structural change between graphene sheets when the fiber is deformed, thereby achieving a significant increase in the sensitivity of graphene-based fibers. This fiber is knitted into gauze and used as an eye mask, which can monitor the rotation of the eyeball and other information in real-time. Integrating the fiber into the wound patch and sticking it to the wrist can identify the wrist pulse. The fiber can also be knitted into gloves to sense the bending of different hands, indicating that it accurately controls the motion signal. It is precisely because of the existence of the small ball structure that the fiber is given higher sensitivity than ordinary fibers. The above results meet the requirements of wearable strain sensors and reflect the application potential of graphene-based strain sensor devices in smart medical and wearable devices.
Figure 2. Graphene electronic skin
- Diagnosis and treatment of major diseases: Bioelectronic materials can also be used to track the number and characteristics of cancer cells. Using the nanostructure of organic conductive polymer, the functional groups loaded with boric acid molecules will be bonded to the oligosaccharides on the sugar tail of cancer cell antibodies, and the nano-detection chip can grab the circulating cancer cells and further purify cells. This can be used to detect changes in the RNA signal of cancer cells in prostate cancer, helping doctors determine which patient is a high-risk group of prostate cancer based on the information in the blood.
Figure 3. Nano detection chip
- YOW Soh-Zoom, LIM Tze Han, YIM Evelyn K F, et al. (2011) "A 3D Electroactive Polypyrrole-Collagen Fibrous Scaffold for Tissue Engineering". Polymers, 3(1):527-544.
- LI Meng-you, BIDEZ Paul, ELIZABETH Guterman-Tretter, et al. (2007) "Electroactive and Nanostructured Polymers as Scaffold Materials for Neuronal and Cardiac Tissue Engineering." Chinese Journal of Polymer Science, 25(4):33-339.