Nanomechanical characterization of soft bioelectronic interfaces via modeling-informed atomic force microscopy

Cortelli, Giorgio (2023) Nanomechanical characterization of soft bioelectronic interfaces via modeling-informed atomic force microscopy, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria civile, chimica, ambientale e dei materiali, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10833.
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The field of bioelectronics involves the use of electrodes to exchange electrical signals with biological systems for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in biomedical devices and healthcare applications. However, the mechanical compatibility of implantable devices with the human body has been a challenge, particularly with long-term implantation into target organs. Current rigid bioelectronics can trigger inflammatory responses and cause unstable device functions due to the mechanical mismatch with the surrounding soft tissue. Recent advances in flexible and stretchable electronics have shown promise in making bioelectronic interfaces more biocompatible. To fully achieve this goal, material science and engineering of soft electronic devices must be combined with quantitative characterization and modeling tools to understand the mechanical issues at the interface between electronic technology and biological tissue. Local mechanical characterization is crucial to understand the activation of failure mechanisms and optimizing the devices. Experimental techniques for testing mechanical properties at the nanoscale are emerging, and the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is a good candidate for in situ local mechanical characterization of soft bioelectronic interfaces. In this work, in situ experimental techniques with solely AFM supported by interpretive models for the characterization of planar and three-dimensional devices suitable for in vivo and in vitro biomedical experimentations are reported. The combination of the proposed models and experimental techniques provides access to the local mechanical properties of soft bioelectronic interfaces. The study investigates the nanomechanics of hard thin gold films on soft polymeric substrates (Poly(dimethylsiloxane) PDMS) and 3D inkjet-printed micropillars under different deformation states. The proposed characterization methods provide a rapid and precise determination of mechanical properties, thus giving the possibility to parametrize the microfabrication steps and investigate their impact on the final device.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Cortelli, Giorgio
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
AFM, mechanical characterization, in situ, soft bioelectronic interfaces, stretchable conductor
Data di discussione
16 Giugno 2023

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