Download PDF More and more people are having their ruined body parts replaced with prostheses interconnected to the nervous system. Advances in graphene technology might bring these artificial devices to their senses — in bionic eyes and ears. Graphene is impervious to the harsh ionic solutions found in the human body. These features have made graphene a material of some promise in next-generation bionic technology.
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Download PDF More and more people are having their ruined body parts replaced with prostheses interconnected to the nervous system. Advances in graphene technology might bring these artificial devices to their senses — in bionic eyes and ears.
Graphene is impervious to the harsh ionic solutions found in the human body. These features have made graphene a material of some promise in next-generation bionic technology. In November , Jose Garrido, a nanotechnologist at the Walter Schottky Institute in Munich, Germany, took a big bionic step when he showed that arrays of transistors made of graphene can detect action potentials in heart cells.
Apart from its stability and favourable electronic properties, graphene is also flexible, so it can be wrapped around delicate tissues. No other material shares all these features, Bergonzo says, adding that graphene opens up research opportunities in neural prosthetics. How it works Like other electrogenic cells, cardiomyocytes use action potentials to pass electrical signals along from cell to cell. Each of those voltage spikes changes the local electrostatic environment by inducing a flow of ions in the channel in the electrolyte separating the cells and the transistors.
The fluctuation in resistance constitutes a detectable signal between cardiomyocytes. Cortical neurons being grown on graphene for use as biological implants nuclei are stained blue. What graphene transistors are good at, according to Garrido, is biological sensing — the sort of task that eyes and ears perform. Should silicon transistors be used in the human body, they would need to be coated with metal oxide to boost their stability in solution, Garrido says.
Those layers trap ions that produce noisy interference and thus degrade signal quality. Graphene is not the only carbon-based material with bionic potential. Diamond nanocrystals show promise in retinal implants to treat blindness, says Bergonzo.
But diamond is solid, inflexible and a poor conductor. Otherwise, you risk giving too much stimulation, or not enough. And those closer connections, he says, could improve sight. Remaining challenges Hone emphasizes that research into graphene-based bioelectronics is in its infancy. Scientists still face fundamental challenges in manufacturing, he says. Moreover, materials scientist John Rogers at the University of Illinois in Urbana—Champaign cautions that silicon is still a contender.
He envisages a hybrid approach that takes advantage of the strengths of both silicon and graphene.
Bioelectronics: The bionic material
A ribosome is a biological machine that utilizes protein dynamics At the first C. Department of Commerce, defined bioelectronics in a report as "the discipline resulting from the convergence of biology and electronics". A key aspect is the interface between biological materials and micro- and nano-electronics. The legs moved, sparking the genesis of bioelectronics.
BIOELECTRONICS THE BIONIC MATERIAL PDF
Lowering the threshold for bioelectronics