Biotectix of Ann Arbor, MI recently contacted me to let me know of new conductive polymer materials that they are developing to enhance the performance of next-gen implantable stimulation and sensing devices.
Indeed, their materials sound very promising. According to Biotectix, their electrode coatings and device components are made from proprietary conducting polymers that provide intimate, long-term electrical and biological connections between implantable electrodes and the target tissue. They offer the conductivity and stability of metals at a low-cost with the ease of processing and biological functionality of polymers.
What I find most intriguing is that Biotectix has demonstrated the ability to electrochemically polymerize PEDOT in situ/in vivo, resulting in a hybrid polymer-tissue material that electrically joins the active electrode to the tissue. The generation of a conductive polymer network formed within electrically active tissue (e.g. neural or cardiac tissue) could completely redefind the way we design implantable electrodes and therapies for rebuilding electrically conducting pathways in the body.
The possibility of implantable man/machine interfacing would get a whole new boost from using Biotectix materials. For example, The image below shows how a network of conducting PEDOT filaments can be polymerized directly within brain tissue from an implanted electrode to enhance electrical interfacing (left). The photo on the right shows how this has been reduced to practice in a prepared section of mouse brain tissue. Three distinct PEDOT networks were polymerized from a microwire using different amounts of electrical charge.
Company website: www.biotectix.com