Researchers at Columbia University have made significant strides in precision therapeutics with the creation of a revolutionary fully organic bioelectronic device. This device addresses the need for personalized treatment approaches by continuously monitoring physiological signals and delivering therapeutics in a tailored manner.
Implanted bioelectronic devices have played a crucial role in these treatments, but their widespread adoption has been hindered by various challenges. Existing devices rely on rigid and non-biocompatible components for signal acquisition, processing, data transmission, and power, which can lead to tissue disruption and patient discomfort. To overcome these limitations, an ideal device would be biocompatible, flexible, and durable within the body. It should also possess high sensitivity and speed for recording low-amplitude biosignals while transmitting data for external analysis.
Columbia Engineering researchers have now introduced a fully organic bioelectronic device that is self-contained, conformable, and capable of acquiring, transmitting, and powering neurophysiological brain signals. The device, which is incredibly tiny at approximately 100 times smaller than a human hair, utilizes an organic transistor architecture with a vertical channel and a miniaturized water conduit. It demonstrates long-term stability, high electrical performance, and operates at low voltages to prevent harm to biological tissue.
Previously, there was a recognized need for transistors that possess a combination of features such as low-voltage operation, biocompatibility, performance stability, conformability for in vivo use, and high electrical performance, including fast response time, high transconductance, and crosstalk-free operation. Although silicon-based transistors are widely used, their rigidity and inefficiency in establishing an optimal ion interface with the body limit their suitability.
To address these challenges, the research team developed a scalable and self-contained architecture known as the vertical internal-ion-gated organic electrochemical transistor (vIGT). This innovative design incorporates a vertical channel arrangement, optimizing channel geometry, and enabling a high-density configuration of transistors, with a remarkable density of 155,000 per square centimeter.
The development of this fully organic bioelectronic device represents a significant breakthrough in precision therapeutics. It holds immense promise for personalized and effective medical treatments by providing a solution that is biocompatible, flexible, and capable of monitoring and delivering targeted therapies based on individual needs.