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Ecoresorbable and bioresorbable microelectromechanical systems


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are essential components in many electronic technologies for consumer and industrial applications. Such devices are typically made using materials selected to support long operational lifetimes, but MEMS designed to physically disintegrate or to dissolve after a targeted period could provide a route to reduce electronic waste and could enable applications that require a finite operating timeframe, such as temporary medical implants. Here we report ecoresorbable and bioresorbable MEMS that are based on fully water-soluble material platforms and can either naturally resorb into the environment to eliminate solid waste or in the body to avoid a need for surgical extraction. We illustrate the biocompatibility of the approach with mechanobiology, histology and haematology studies of the implanted devices and their dissolution end products. We also demonstrate bioresorbable encapsulating materials and deployment strategies in small animal models to reduce device damage, confine mobile fragments and provide robust adhesion with adjacent tissues.

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Fig. 1: Eco-/bioresorbable flexible forms of eb-MEMS.
Fig. 2: Representative classes of eb-MEMS.
Fig. 3: Eco-/bioresorption and biocompatibility of eb-MEMS.
Fig. 4: Encapsulation of eb-MEMS for eco-/biointegration.
Fig. 5: In vivo evaluations of an HAM-encapsulated eb-MEMS in a small animal model.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics at Northwestern University. We especially thank L. Saggere at the University of Illinois Chicago for helping with the optical characterization of the devices. This work made use of the NUFAB facility of Northwestern University’s NUANCE Center, which has received support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-2025633); the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1720139) at the Materials Research Center; the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN); the Keck Foundation; the Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics; the Keck Biophysics Facility, a shared resource of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, which has received support in part by the NCI Cancer Center Support (P30 CA060553); the Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging (RRID:SCR_021192); Northwestern University; and the State of Illinois, through the IIN. Elemental analysis was performed at the Northwestern University Quantitative Bio-element Imaging Center generously supported by NASA Ames Research Center Grant (NNA04CC36G). B.E. acknowledges support from the National Institutes of Health (T32 EB019944). M.W. acknowledges support from the National Institutes of Health (T32 AG20506). Y.K. acknowledges support from the National Institutes of Health (R01 NS107539 and R01 MH117111), Beckman Young Investigator Award, Rita Allen Foundation Scholar Award and Searle Scholar Award. M.T.A.S. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (ECCS 19-34991) and Illinois Cancer Center seed grant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Y.H. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (CMMI 16-35443). The diagrams in Figs. 4a and 5a are created with BioRender (

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Q.Y., J.-K.C. and J.A.R. conceived the ideas and designed the research. Q.Y., T.-L.L., Y. Xue and Y.C. designed the devices. Q.Y., T.-L.L., Y. Xu, C.R., T.W., C.C., Z.H., C.W., M.H. and J.M.T. fabricated and characterized the devices. Y. Xue, H.W. and Y.H. performed the numerical simulations. B.E., M.W., I.K., C.R.H., A.B., I.S., J.H., R.A.S., L.L., Y.K. and M.T.A.S. performed the in vitro and in vivo studies. Q.Y., T.-L.L., Y. Xu, B.E., C.R., T.W. and J.H. performed the data analysis. Q.Y., J.-K.C. and J.A.R. wrote the manuscript with input from all the authors.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jan-Kai Chang or John A. Rogers.

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Nature Electronics thanks Christopher Bettinger, Roozbeh Tabrizian and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Notes 1–8, Tables 1–3 and Figs. 1–31.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Video 1

Displacement vector plot of a cell in the presence of MP extracts.

Supplementary Video 2

Displacement vector plot of a cell in the presence of TP extracts.

Supplementary Video 3

Displacement vector plot of a cell in the control group.

Supplementary Video 4

Top view of stress distribution during the transfer printing process in simulation.

Supplementary Video 5

Side view of stress distribution during the transfer printing process in simulation.

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Yang, Q., Liu, TL., Xue, Y. et al. Ecoresorbable and bioresorbable microelectromechanical systems. Nat Electron 5, 526–538 (2022).

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