A team of scientists from Harvard’s Wyss Institute and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has created flexible, metal-free electrode arrays that conform to the body. This conformity allows, for example, electrical impulses to be recorded and stimulated with lower required voltages, enabling their use in hard-to-reach areas of the body, and minimizes the risk of damage to delicate organs.
Arrays of metal electrodes are currently used in medical procedures that require monitoring or delivering electrical impulses in the body, such as brain surgery and epilepsy mapping. However, the metal and plastic materials that comprise them are stiff and inflexible while the body’s tissues are soft and malleable. This mismatch limits the places in which electrode arrays can be successfully used, and also requires the application of a large amount of electrical current in order to “jump” the gap between an electrode and its target. In this new work, the team tackles this issue and delivers soft and conformable graphene and CNTs based electrodes.