Flexible electronics can bring greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness and utility to medical applications.
The vast majority of medical parts and devices are dependent on form factor constraints and limited to the use of glass which makes them heavy, rigid and breakable. For example, amorphous silicon based X-ray detectors are made on glass and their weight can reach a few kilograms depending on size. This weight comes mainly from the glass on which the sensor is made as well as the housing that is installed to cushion the glass from breaking in the event of a drop. Such housing can add cost and complexity to the X-ray sensor which a plastic based X-ray sensor will not incur. Moreover, a plastic based X-ray detector will be significantly lighter than a glass based detector.
Using glass in medical applications can also add to production costs, while also making the devices uncomfortable for patients.
Applications of flexible electronics in medical devices
FlexEnable’s industrially scalable flexible electronics technology can cater for the needs of medical diagnostics. It can be used in:
- X-ray detectors
By replacing amorphous silicon FPDs, organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) arrays can be used to make light weight, low cost flexible and robust X-ray detectors suitable for general radiography, mammography and fluoroscopy. The ultra-low leakage advantage of OTFTs compared to amorphous silicon brings direct sensitivity benefits to X-ray detection. FlexEnable is working with partners to make X-ray image sensors for various medical and dental applications.
- Lab-on-chip devices
Current lab-on-chip devices are made on glass which can be bulky and breakable. FlexEnable’s OTFT arrays on plastic can make more compact and disposable devices.
- Smart plastics
FlexEnable’s proprietary processes on plastic can be used on medically accepted plastic substrates to incorporate flexible devices in bandages for patient monitoring or catheters which can enhance the outcome of patient examination.
- Health monitoring devices
Wearable devices used to track health characteristics of patients can be made thinner, lighter and shatterproof thanks to flexible displays and flexible sensors.
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