Design and Characterization of Conductive Biopolymer Nanocomposite Electrodes for Medical Applications
Metal-based electrodes, despite being the most widely used for biomedical applications, are limited by a poor reliable skin-surface interface and patients suffer from comfort issues. The most common problems/inconveniences are caused by stiff electrodes, skin irritation, allergic reaction or corrosion. In order to overcome these problems, we produced and tested flexible electrodes involving biopolymer nanocomposite materials. Conductive polymers have been intensively studied and applied in the field of organic photovoltaics and flexible organic electronics. Recently, the use of conductive biopolymer nanocomposite has also emerged as an interesting and promising material for biomedical applications. In this study, we have designed and characterized electrodes made of a flexible and conductive nanocomposite material using a biocompatible and biodegradable polymeric matrix of poly (3-hydroxyalkanoate) (PHA, in particular poly (3-hydroxybutyrate), PHB) containing conductive nanowires. The biopolymer nanocomposites and their electrical conductivities were investigated by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electrical four-point probing. The electrical conductivities obtained in the different PHA-polymer nanocomposites containing different concentrations of conductive additives is discussed in relation to the nanocomposite structure at the microscopic level. Finally, our developed biopolymer nanocomposite prototype electrodes have successfully been tested for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and electrocardiography ECG applications in comparison to conventional electrodes.
C. Sommitsch, M. Ionescu, B. Mishra, E. Kozeschnik and T. Chandra
C. Tematio et al., "Design and Characterization of Conductive Biopolymer Nanocomposite Electrodes for Medical Applications", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 879, pp. 1921-1926, 2017