Conductive polymer composite sensors

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Bioengineering

Abstract

This research focusses on the creation of an embedded sensor to obtain biometric data from changes in the environment. We will address physiological systems-sensing which is a fundamentally challenging topic due to the invasive procedures required to obtain real-time and realistic data. Although external sensors exist, from devices that can measure single sensory outputs to more robust multifunctional sensors, these often lack in sensitivity. This project aims to create a monolithic polymeric embedded sensor that will securely attach to the body to increase accuracy and reduce noise of collected information which is the case in most multi-component wearable sensors.
The device will record physiological data, such as respiration rate, heart-rate, and motion that can be correlated to the underlying biological functionalities. Data will be obtained from non-anaesthitised animal subjects to provide a more accurate output and better represent realistic conditions. We will make use of modern rapid proto- typing technology and novel multifunctional materials to create a single-component device, and mathematically model the relationship between the measured anatomical, cellular, and neuronal changes. By monitoring and understanding how these changes are addressed by nature we can begin to create sensitive devices for other purposes and thereby use nature as a template for more complex synthetic systems.

This project will be undertaken in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London which has numerous research groups focusing on the detection and sensing of biomechanical and neural cues. The topic lies on the interface between three main research areas: \detection, devices, design", \biomechanics" and
eural engineering". The EPSRC DTP studentship provides funding for the project which follows closely a number of research areas in the Council's remit. Most importantly \vision, hearing and other senses" and \sensors and
nstrumentation" are the most relevant areas to the research proposed, although elements from a wide range of bioin- formatics, materials chemistry, microelectronics, and engineering design all t within the active research interests of the Council. Finally, my own research interests fall rmly within the areas of polymer chemistry, and the molecular design of active com-
ponents for multifunctional organic sensor devices, and semiconductor technologies. I have relevant skills in materials analysis and polymer synthesis, and have worked with
implantable devices with signicant experience in using advanced equipment. I look forward to getting involved in this highly multidisciplinary and collaborative research.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1846144 Studentship EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 15/12/2020 Michael Kasimatis
 
Description During the course of this grant a novel method of interfacing stretchable and non-stretchable electronics has been developed. A fully integrated wearable device with printed antennas, power generator, and monolithically integrated microcontroller elements within a stretchable, soft, polymer structure. This would initially be a wearable harness monitoring vital signs, or a rehabilitation device (such as a stress ball) with wireless data transmission capabilities. In the future this fully integrated architecture of electronic components within a uniform polymer matrix could become the norm for a range of electronic devices. The novelty that our research is focused on is the monolithic integration of different components with the matrix by a combination of covalent bonding and alloying interfaces. In the future, the sophistication in functionality and manufacturing of such devices will be explored and a final product will be delivered.
Exploitation Route A novel form factor which allows for a plethora of new uses: more sensitive sensors, stretchable electronic devices are a step further than foldable mobile phones currently being prepared for mass production. Waterproof, generation of data where none existed, easy-to-use devices. Manufacturers, scientists, consumers and professionals can all benefit from this technology. We have already started developing this technology and proof of concept innovations have already arrived. Personal medical devices market is $1bn in size and consumer electronics is a $300m market.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Creative Economy,Electronics,Environment,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Retail,Transport

 
Description The research has created novel technology and a patent application has been submitted. This filing will also be exploited commercially in the future in the area of medical devices and wearable physiological monitoring. A collaboration has began with a company addressing upper limb rehabilitation (and monitoring thereof) in the clinic. Commercial interest has also been demonstrated by medical device and skin mounted electronics startups. Furthermore, the Organic Electronics Association has shown interest around how this technology enabling the creating of monolithically integrated stretchable electronics will impact the future of stretchable and flexible electronics and future devices.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic