Stretchable Mesh Nanoelectronics with "Tissue-Like" Mechanics

(a) Schematic view of the stretchable mesh nanoelectronics consisting of (from top to bottom) a 50-nm-thick platinum (Pt) electrode layer electroplated with Pt black, a 40-nm-thick gold (Au) interconnects layer, and top / bottom SU-8 encapsulation layers. The serpentine layout of interconnects is designed to enable stretchability. A polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) ring is bonded around the device as a chamber to define the size and initial cell number in the seeded stem cell sheet. (b) Optical image of stretchable mesh nanoelectronics floating in the saline solution. (c) Optical image of stretchable mesh nanoelectronics showing a single Pt electrode and the embedded mesh in brain tissue (in vitro).

A team at the Harvard MRSEC led by Liu has designed and fabricated a "tissue-like" bioelectronic device composed of a distributed array of stretchable electrodes using layouts developed in collaboration with Suo. These devices can be integrated with human brain tissue (in vitro), which are assembled from differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells. These stretchable devices enable a seamless and non-invasive method of coupling electrodes to human tissues. When combined with brain tissue, the device provides a stable, continuous recording of single-cell action potentials akin to early-stage brain development. A new startup company, Axolt, co-founded by graduate student, Paul Le Floch, and Liu plans to commercialize this research. The development of bioelectronic devices that serve as a brain interface connects to NSF's Big Idea: Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier.

P. Le Floch, Q. Li, Z. Lin, S. Zhao, R. Lui, K. Tasnim, H. Jiang, and J. Liu, "Stretchable mesh nanoelectronics for 3D single-cell chronic electrophysiology from developing brain organoids," Advanced Materials 34, 2106829 (2022) open url in new window open pdf in new window

Jia Liu (Bioengineering) and Zhigang Suo (Mechanical Engineering)
2021-2022 Harvard MRSEC (DMR-2011754)