1 May 2017 Electroactive polymers for healthcare and biomedical applications
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Electroactivity was noticed early in biological substances, including proteins, polynucleotides and enzymes, even piezoand pyroelectricity were found in wool, hair, wood, bone and tendon. Recently, ferroelectricity has been identified in a surprisingly large number of biologically relevant materials, including hydroxyapatite, aortic walls and elastin. Inspired by the variety of natural electroactive materials, a wealth of new elastomers and polymers were designed recently, including an all organic elastomer electret and self-healing dielectric elastomers. Let’s further draw inspiration from nature and widen the utilization of electroactive polymers towards (mobile) healthcare and biomedical applications. Ferroelectrets, internally charged polymer foams with a strong piezoelectric thickness coefficient are employed in biomedical sensing, for example as blood pressure and pulse sensor, as vital signs monitor or for the detection of tonicclonic seizures. Piezo- and pyroelectric polymers are booming in printed electronics research. They provide electronic skin the ability to “feel” pressure and temperature changes, or to generate electrical energy from vibrations and motions, even from contractile and relaxation motions of the heart and lung. Dielectric elastomers are pioneered by StretchSense as wearable motion capture sensors, monitoring pressure, stretch, bend and shear, quantifying comfort in sports and healthcare. On the cellular level, electroactive polymer arrays are used to study mechanotransduction of individual cells. Ionic electroactive polymers show potential to be used in implantable electroactive biomedical devices. Already with the currently available science and technology, we are at the verge of witnessing the demonstration of truly complex bionic systems.
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Siegfried Bauer, Siegfried Bauer, } "Electroactive polymers for healthcare and biomedical applications", Proc. SPIE 10163, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2017, 1016303 (1 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2263368; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2263368

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