Flexible, stretchable and healable bioelectronicsExport this event to calendar

Monday, October 28, 2019 — 2:30 PM EDT

Fabio Cicoira, Department of Chemical Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal, Canada

Organic electronics, based on semiconducting and conducting polymers, have been extensively investigated in the past decades and have found commercial applications in lighting panels, smartphone and TV screens using OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes). Many other applications are foreseen to reach the commercial maturity in the future in areas such as transistors, sensors and photovoltaics. 

Organic electronic materials, apart from consumer electronics, are playing a central role in a myriad of novel applications that are becoming ubiquitous in our society, such as artificial muscles, electronic skin, prosthetics, smart textiles, rollable/foldable displays and biomimetics. Progress in these fields comes after decades of intense research and development in materials science and engineering, which have resulted in materials combining properties that are often mutually exclusive. For instance, materials showing high flexibility/stretchability, self-healing electronic/ionic conductivity, and enhanced optoelectronic performance are now a reality. 

Another flourishing field is that of organic bioelectronics, where devices such as conducting polymer electrodes are used for recording and stimulating neural, muscular and nerve activity. In such applications, organic polymers are very attractive candidates due to their distinct properties of ionic/electronic conduction, which leads to a lower impedance at the electrode/tissue interface, oxide-free interfaces, tunable mechanical properties, which allow films to be deposited on irregular surfaces and tunable surface chemistry, which permits to promote or hinder the adhesion of biomolecules. These features can be particularly useful for enhancing the performance and the biocompatibility of implantable electrodes and other biomedical or wearable devices.

My talk will deal with processing and characterization of conducting polymer films and devices for flexible, stretchable and healable electronics as well as for implantable electrodes. I will particularly focus on micro-patterning of conducting polymer films for flexible and stretchable devices, on processing strategies to fabricate stretchable and self-healing conductors, on the fabrication and characterization, in vitro and in vivo, of electrodes for deep brain stimulation and electromyography.

Reception, with an assortment of food and drinks, to be held at 2:00 pm in QNC 0101.


Fabio Cicoira is an associate professor of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montreal. He holds a MSc in Chemistry from the University of Bologna and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne. Before joining Polytechnique Montreal, he worked at the National Research Council of Italy, at the Institut Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (Varennes, QC), and at Cornell University. He is recognized for his studies of organic field-effect transistors, electrochemical transistors, flexible, stretchable and healable electronics. He has published over 75 articles in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and several book chapters. His works have been cited more than 2700 times and his ISI H-index is 30 (36 in Google Scholar). He has been invited over 40 times to talk at international conferences and he has given over 30 seminars in universities and national laboratories worldwide. From 2007 to 2010 he was the recipient of the prestigious Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship from the European Union. He is an editorial board member of the journal Scientific Report (Nature Publishing Group). He is a member of the Transmedtech Institute, the Stitch Institute (UBC), the Regroupement Québecois sur les Matériaux de pointe, the Research Center for High performance polymers and composites. He has been a visiting professor at the ETH Zurich in 2019.

Most relevant references:

1. Y. Li, X. Li, R. N. Unnava Venkata, S. Zhang, F. Cicoira, Highly Stretchable PEDOT:PSS Organic Electrochemical Transistors Achieved via Polyethylene Glycol Addition, Flexible and Printed Electronics, in press, 2019 (FPE-100297).
2. N. Rossetti, P. Luthra, J. Hagler, A. H. J. Lee, C. Bodart, X. Li, G. Ducharme, F. Soavi, B. Amilhon, F. Cicoira, Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) Coatings for High-Quality Electromyography Recording, ACS Applied Bio Materials, in press (10.1021/acsabm.9b00809).
3. C. Bodart, N. Rossetti, J. Hagler, P. Chevreau, D. Chin, F. Soavi, S. Schougaard, F. Amzica, F. Cicoira, Electropolymerized poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) coatings for implantable deep-brain stimulating microelectrodes, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 11, 17226-17233, 2019.
4. S. Zhang, Y. Li, G. Tomasello, M. Anthonisen, X. Li, M. Mazzeo, A. Genco, P. Grutter, F. Cicoira, Tuning the electromechanical properties of PEDOT:PSS films for stretchable transistors and pressure sensors, Adv. Electron. Mater, 1900191, 2019.
5. S. Zhang, F. Cicoira, Water-enabled Healing of Conducting Polymer Films, Adv. Mater. 29, 1703098, 2017.
6. Highly stretchable electrospun conducting polymer nanofibers, F. Boubée de Gramont, S. Zhang, G. Tomasello, P. Kumar, F. Cicoira, Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 093701, 2017.
7. S. Zhang, E. Hubis, G. Tomasello, G. Soliveri, P. Kumar, F. Cicoira, Patterning of Stretchable Organic Electrochemical Transistors, 29, 3126-3132, 2017.
8. S. Zhang, E. Hubis, P. Kumar, C. Girard, F. Cicoira, Water stability and orthogonal patterning of flexible microelectrochemical transistors on plastic, J. Mater. Chem. C 4, 1382–85, 2016.

QNC - Quantum Nano Centre
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

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