Fraunhofer to investigate biodegradable electronics for active implants

October 11, 2017 // By Julien Happich
The development of biodegradable electronics has been the focus or a recent in-house research project led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP.

A year into this project, research partners 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 and Fraunhofer FEP will present their first results during Semicon Europe 2017 as part of productronica 2017 in Munich.

Electronic components that can be 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. For this purpose Fraunhofer FEP has developed vacuum technologies for the manufacture of biodegradable conductive traces on biodegradable substrates. Active medical implants built with biodegradable component could be resorbed by tissue, sparing the patient a second surgical intervention for implant removal after its useful operating life.
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).

This project will focus on the development of essential components for biodegradable electronic parts to be employed for example in an implant. These include biodegradable conductor structures, biodegradable electrodes for collecting electrical signals or delivering electrical stimulation (for example for brain monitoring), biodegradable thin-film transistors and circuitry and all their associated moisture and gas barrier coatings and electrical insulation layers. All such elements ought to be monolithically integrated into a flexible thin-film device.