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Home Industry News New OECT sensors ‘could enhance reading of biological signals’

New OECT sensors ‘could enhance reading of biological signals’

12th October 2016

A new study has demonstrated the potential of new organic electrochemical transistor (OECT)-based sensors to improve the monitoring of biological signals.

The Imperial College London research examined the capability of OECTs to measure signals created by electrical impulses in the body and enhanced them using an innovative ambipolar design.

Most semiconducting materials conduct electronic signals carried by either electrons or their positively charged counterparts, which are called holes. P-type materials use primarily hole-driven transport, while n-type materials use primarily electron-driven transport.

Ambipolar materials, on the other hand, combine both types, allowing the transport of holes and electrons within the same material, leading to potentially more sensitive devices. Prior to this study, it has proven impossible for ambipolar materials to work in the body.

Their ambipolar OECT offers high stability in water-based solutions, overcoming the instability of n-type materials by designing new structures to prevent electron side-reactions. It could be used to monitor a wide range of biological signals, from heartbeats to brainwaves.

Lead author Alexander Giovannitti, a PhD student at the department of chemistry and the Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London, said: "Proving that an n-type organic electrochemical transistor can operate in water paves the way for new sensor electronics with improved sensitivity."

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