Nanomanufacturing Accelerates Body-Worn Electronic Monitoring Systems
In recent years, body-worn sensors have enacted a MEMS-based device approach that provides functionality, yet remains both invasive to the user and expensive for broad commercial implementation. These issues exist because the electronics and sensors are manufactured using batch-processing methods. Nanomanufacturing methods have emerged incorporating solution-based processes that enable a range of organic or inorganic nanomaterials to be assembled over large areas with precise control over composition and functionality. Incorporation of solution-based processes provides compatibility with low-temperature, flexible substrate materials, enables continuous processing via print or roll-to-roll manufacturing infrastructure, and can be integrated with conventional electronic circuit components. The latter remains a critical limitation as crystalline silicon electronics are far superior for computing and wireless telemetry than printed thin film transistors. That said, the ability for directed assembly of crystalline semiconductors, combined with advances in emerging materials such as carbon nanotubes, should give silicon electronics increasing competition from these critical components. In the mean time, silicon wafer thinning provides a proven method to obtain flexible silicon chip that can be integrated within a flexible system via advanced packaging capabilities.
Kim DH, Lu K, Ghaffan R, Rogers JA. Inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials for flexible and stretchable bio-integrated electronics. 2012. NPG Asia Materials 4(e15). http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1038/am.2012.27
Images reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Kim DH, Lu K, Ghaffan R, Rogers JA. Inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials for flexible and stretchable bio-integrated electronics. 2012. NPG Asia Materials 4(e15). http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1038/am.2012.27