Article

Capacitively coupled arrays of multiplexed flexible silicon transistors for long-term cardiac electrophysiology

  • Nature Biomedical Engineering 1, Article number: 0038 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/s41551-017-0038
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Abstract

Advanced capabilities in electrical recording are essential for the treatment of heart-rhythm diseases. The most advanced technologies use flexible integrated electronics; however, the penetration of biological fluids into the underlying electronics and any ensuing electrochemical reactions pose significant safety risks. Here, we show that an ultrathin, leakage-free, biocompatible dielectric layer can completely seal an underlying array of flexible electronics while allowing for electrophysiological measurements through capacitive coupling between tissue and the electronics, without the need for direct metal contact. The resulting current-leakage levels and operational lifetimes are, respectively, four orders of magnitude smaller and between two and three orders of magnitude longer than those of other flexible-electronics technologies. Systematic electro­physiological studies with normal, paced and arrhythmic conditions in Langendorff hearts highlight the capabilities of the capacitive-coupling approach. These advances provide realistic pathways towards the broad applicability of biocompatible, flexible electronic implants.

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Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the NIH grants R01 HL115415, R01 HL114395 and R21 HL112278, and through the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory and Center for Microanalysis of Materials at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We would like to thank the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory and the School of Chemical Sciences Machine Shop at the University of Illinois for help on the device fabrication. J.Z. acknowledges support from a Louis J. Larson Fellowship, Swiegert Fellowship, and H. C. Ting Fellowship from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. M.T. and J.V. acknowledge the support from the National Science Foundation award CCF 1422914. C.-H.C. and J.V. acknowledge the support from the Army Research Office award W911NF-14-1-0173.

Author information

Author notes

    • Hui Fang
    • , Ki Jun Yu
    •  & Christopher Gloschat

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

    • Hui Fang
  2. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

    • Hui Fang
    • , Ki Jun Yu
    • , Zijian Yang
    • , Enming Song
    • , Jianing Zhao
    • , Sang Min Won
    • , Siyi Xu
    • , Yiding Zhong
    • , Seung Won Han
    • , Dong Xu
    • , Seo Woo Choi
    •  & John A. Rogers
  3. Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

    • Hui Fang
    • , Ki Jun Yu
    • , Zijian Yang
    • , Enming Song
    • , Jianing Zhao
    • , Sang Min Won
    • , Siyi Xu
    • , Yiding Zhong
    • , Seung Won Han
    • , Dong Xu
    • , Seo Woo Choi
    •  & John A. Rogers
  4. School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul, 03722, Republic of Korea

    • Ki Jun Yu
  5. Department of Biomedical Engineering, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA

    • Christopher Gloschat
    • , Matthew Kay
    •  & Igor R. Efimov
  6. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA

    • Chia-Han Chiang
    • , Michael Trumpis
    •  & Jonathan Viventi
  7. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA

    • Yeguang Xue
    •  & Yonggang Huang
  8. Department of Bioengineering, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA

    • Gert Cauwenberghs
  9. Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA

    • John A. Rogers

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Contributions

H.F., K.J.Y., C.G., Z.Y., I.R.E. and J.A.R. designed the research; H.F., K.J.Y., Z.Y., E.S., C.-H.C., J.Z., S.X., S.M.W., Y.Z., S.W.H., D.X. and S.W.C. fabricated the devices and electronics; H.F., C.G., Z.Y. and J.Z. carried out animal experiments; H.F., K.J.Y., C.G., Z.Y., C.-H.C., J.Z., M.T., J.V., G.C. and M.K. performed data analysis; H.F., Z.Y., Y.X. and Y.H. contributed to mechanical simulations; H.F., K.J.Y., C.G., Z.Y., I.R.E. and J.A.R. co-wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Igor R. Efimov or John A. Rogers.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary notes and figures.

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Video 1

    A flexible capacitively coupled sensing electronic system on a Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart model.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Video 2

    Voltage data from all electrodes, illustrating the activation pattern of the heart during sinus rhythm.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Video 3

    Voltage data from all electrodes, illustrating the paced activation pattern moving from the apex to the base.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Video 4

    Voltage data from all electrodes, illustrating the activation pattern of the heart during ventricular fibrillation.