Organic bioelectronics = Printable electronics + Iontronics + Soft electronics + Healable electronics + Sustainable electronics
The epidemic in 2020 causes global panic in public health. It reflects the urgent need for sensitive and cost-effective bioelectronic devices that can screen diseases on time, rather than relying on time-consuming testing kits that can be only used in research labs by professionals. Personalized biosensors have been aiming to solve such challenges by enabling point-of-care and wearable detection of human health conditions in a timely manner. Such devices will eventually enable the transition from “hospital-centric healthcare to human-centric healthcare” and from “treating the patients” to “ensuring the well-being of human beings”.
Tissues are soft, healable, ionic signaling, and live, while electronics are hard, fragile, electronic signaling, and non-live. A mediator is needed to blur the boundary. To minimize any potential mismatches as well as to improve communication, the mediator should have the merits of both.
Organic bioelectronics is a cutting-edge technology using mixed ion/electron organic semiconductors to lower the communication barrier between bioelectronic electrodes and the human body. It holds a record-high sensitivity in detecting brain signals. Organic bioelectronic devices developed on silicon and plastic are maturing toward practical applications ranging from life sciences to the clinic.
With the ambition to further improve the coupling efficiency of organic bioelectronics with the human body, WISE’s research leverages transdisciplinary approaches to develop tissue-like organic bioelectronics for a more interactive body-device interface. We are recognized as one of the pioneers in this research area, globally. Specifically, we initiated research on tissue-like conducting polymers and conducting hydrogels for soft organic electrochemical transistors which are regarded as the flagship device in the field of organic bioelectronics.
WISE’s ongoing research is to use a bottom-up strategy (materials-manufacturing-devices-integrations) to develop a transferable organic biosensing platform for molecular biosensing, wearables and implantables, targeted drug delivery, imaging, and neuroelectronics, with the purpose to improve the quality of life. At the same time, we focus on developing low-carbon manufacturing technologies, and the use of green organic materials to develop sustainable electronics for health innovation.
In parallel, our research is contributing to shaping a new research direction: soft iontronics (softronics), where elastic iontronic conducting polymers and hydrogels are combined to resolve the unmet biomedical challenges of tomorrow. Our research creates new knowledge of soft bioelectronic devices, which enables us to understand better the communication that occurred at the abiotic/biotic interface and to develop novel neuromorphic synaptic transistors that can be stretched.