Symposium EQ11—Neuromorphic Computing and Biohybrid Systems—Materials and Devices for Brain-Inspired Computing, Adaptive Biointerfacing and Smart Sensing

Written by Corrisa Heyes

Raphael Ahlmann, TU Dortmund

Fabrication of Gas-Sensitive Memristive Devices

Raphael Ahlmann builds on previous work detailing the sensitivity of memristor structures to ambient gases with a goal of developing a low-cost, ultra-low power, CMOS compatible, memristive device gas sensor. The current theoretical work demonstrates fast diffusion of gases into thin films at room temperature and good response to concentration changes in simulation. Experimental data supports the ability to control for degradation and drift phenomena through re-programming schemes. Concentrations of hydrogen as low as 1% have been detected experimentally, although that sensitivity is expected to improve dramatically with the development of an automated controller for the device.


Jun Tao, University of Southern California

Machine Vision with Programmable Floating-Gate Phototransistor for Color-Mixed Image Recognition

Jun Tao addresses the need for high speed, low power machine vision options. This work presents a CMOS compatible, floating-gate photo-field-effective transistor (FC-PFET) for sensing and processing image data simultaneously. Simulation data based on color-mixed handwriting detection performance projects that a trained FG-PFET device should be able to perform at a 94%+ accuracy rate, even off-line and due to the fact that the relationship between amplitude and responsivity is wavelength-dependent, the FC-PFET device is demonstrated to be capable of seeing in full color as well.


Andres Arrieta, Purdue University

Memory Formation and Mechanosensing in Neuromorphic Mechanical Metamaterials

Andres Arrieta demonstrates the groundwork for an “event camera” to facilitate the creation of more robust interphases between the physical world and systems like soft robotics.  Such a camera would ideally integrate memory formation, retention, and recall over long periods of time. Additionally, this camera should measure tactile inputs to allow systems to “feel” their environment and recognize/interact with the objects around them. This goal is partially addressed by the presented simple, low-cost, 3D printed, bistable, mechanical metamaterial that senses and records tactile inputs in response to physical stimuli. Then by associating a “neuron” to each unit, a Hopfield network can be leveraged to convert the input into a binary array and stored long term as a vector. This metamaterial application has the benefit of being easily scalable to integrate over large areas without triggering a data overload state as well as the ability to train in situ, so robots can interact with their environments and accumulate memory along the way.

Symposium SB08—Soft Embodiments of Electronics and Devices for Healthcare Applications

Beatrice Fraboni, University of Bologna

Wireless Textile Moisture and pH Sensor for Wound Care

Written by Corrisa Heyes

True textile organic electronic sensors embedded in the fibers that make up a fabric using PEDOT:PSS to transform biofluid analysis into electronic signal for chemical/hormone detection in sweat has shown to be quite reliable. Working with organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) allows for the development of a selective two-terminal sensor that brings lab-on-fabric capabilities to medical gauze and provides a medium for real time, wireless remote (RFID readout) monitoring of a wound with tunable impedance sensitivity that results in a truly passive device. This allows for real time measurements without need to redress a wound and will last the life of the bandage.

Panel Discussion: 40 Years of Semiconductor Research Corporation and 2030 Decadal Plan for Semiconductors Panel Discussion and Student Poster Showcase

Robert D. Clark, Tokyo Electron Limited

Steffen Hellmold, Twist Bioscience

Marie Krysak, Intel

Matthew J. Marinella, Arizona State University

Emma Pawliczak (Moderator), Binghamton University, The State University of New York

Written by Corrisa Heyes

This Ted Talk style panel addresses topics in semiconductor research over the last 40 years. Panelists from industry and academia answered questions from what low-power computing will look like in the future to what the most compelling research areas are for current students. Students asked questions about ideal materials for cryogenic computing and photonics. The general consensus of this panel revolved around the growing demand for a paradigm shift in how we think about memory. Limitations inherent in the current 2D chip standard, the rising demand for silicon that far outstrips available supply, and even the way software developers think about memory will all need to be addressed within the next decade to meet the market demand for faster, smaller, cheaper devices for the future. Panelists described what their companies/universities are working on to address these challenges, including reducing defect density in quantum cubits, molecular/DNA data storage, and heterogeneous integration packaging.

Symposium SF15—Thermal Processes and Management Under Unconventional Conditions

Anh Tuan Nguyen, University of Hawaiʽi at Manoa

Thermal Conductivity of Electrospun PEO/PEDOT:PSS Nanofiber Produced by Near-Field Electrospinning Method

Written by Corrisa Heyes

Anh Tuan Nguyen reported on the development of a suspended micro-island device method of measuring thermal conductivity of PEO/PEDOT:PSS near-field electrospun polymer nanofibers. Light weight, low cost, polymer nanofibers are generally considered to be insulators at bulk scale; however, applications for polymer nanofibers require higher thermal conductivity values. This work demonstrated that higher molecular weight PEO/PEDOT:PSS polymer nanofibers have 4× improved thermal conductivity compared to their low weight counterparts (which generally match the bulk scale thermal conductivity value). Additionally, data explains the glass transition effect on thermal conductivity measurements generated in the measurement process. Future work includes generating a cross-link between PEO and PEDOT:PSS to further increase thermal conductivity of the polymer nanofiber.

Symposium MF02—3D Printing of Passive and Active Medical Devices

Chung-Han Wu, University of Hawaiʽi

3D-Printed Epidermal Microfluidic Systems for the Collection and Analysis of Sweat

Written by Corrisa Heyes

Chung-Han Wu presents a low-cost, 3D-printed, flexible, stretchable, epidermal microfluidic device (3D-epifluidics) able to attach to human skin for sweat collection. 3D-epifluidic devices are an excellent platform for electrochemical and colorimetric analysis in support of non-invasive health monitoring. This work leverages a stereolithography (SLA)-based 3D printing processes to develop high resolution microfluidic channels that improve the controllability of capillary burst valve (CBV) geometry in a low-cost platform. This controllability allows for tunable fluid routing options which shows comparable capability to more expensive cleanroom fabricated options. Wu demonstrated fully-encapsulated, 3D-epifluidic devices for epidermal interfacing in stationary exertion tests and notes that modifications to adjust burst pressures could be easily incorporated to account for sensing in increased intensity workouts.

Symposium X—Frontiers of Materials Research

Symposium X_Thursday_Meng_800 wideShirley Meng, The University of Chicago

From Atom to System—Tera-Scale Energy Transition with Better Batteries

Written by Alison Hatt

In the final Symposium X talk of the in-person meeting, Shirley Meng, from The University of Chicago, took the audience through a brief history of lithium-ion batteries and shared several stories from her own research career. Throughout her talk, Meng touched on themes of team science and the power of materials scientists to help solve global problems.

At the heart of Meng’s talk was a vision of a future where batteries are not disposable but instead are assets to be recycled and reused. She envisioned each home having a battery supplying “green electrons” from renewable sources, akin to a major appliance like a refrigerator. Batteries of the future must last for decades, she said, and be completely recyclable. We must be responsible for how batteries are produced and how they will continue on planet Earth.

Meng provided a brief history of batteries that stretched back 270 years to when Benjamin Franklin first coined the term “battery,” and included the appearance of the first commercially available lithium-ion batteries in 1992. Lithium-ion batteries have come a long way in the past 30 years, tripling in energy density and gaining a ten-fold increase in lifecycle while also becoming ten times cheaper. Meng underscored the role of materials science enabling every necessary breakthrough along the way, as researchers developed new cathode, anode, and electrolyte materials.

Meng described the lithium ion/metal battery as a complex “living” system and demonstrated the massive volume changes they undergo as they cycle. She emphasized the need for engineering solutions for batteries that are robust to dramatic volume changes, can go through thousands of cycles, and operate reliably in extreme conditions, for applications like aviation.

Symposium X_Thursday_Meng 2_800 wide

Meng discussed the value of using atomic-scale information to design better batteries. Among the stories she shared from her own research was work done as a graduate student exploring lithium-rich layered oxides using density functional theory. In the simulations, she found that putting lithium in the transition metal layer pushed oxygen p-levels closer to the Fermi level, allowing the oxygen anion to participate in conduction.

Since that early work, Meng has gone on to tackle countless other questions in the field, a few of which she highlighted today, such as her recent work using cryo-electron microscopy to determine the atomic-level nanostructure of inactive lithium in lithium metal batteries. Intimate knowledge of the lithium metal anode morphology is needed to make these devices maximally efficient and effective, and Meng showed how each study she discussed nudged the field forward, building insight and overcoming obstacles.

As she looked forward to the next decade of energy storage and battery technology, Meng talked about the importance of safety. Even today’s low rates of lithium-ion batteries catching fire would be unacceptable for an in-home appliance-style battery. Solid-state batteries are promising in that regard, and Meng even talked about letting visitors to her lab cut up a solid-state battery with a pair of scissors as a demonstration of their stability (a demonstration not to be repeated at home).

Despite the many exciting research stories Meng shared, she closed by saying that her proudest achievement is the more than fifty students she has mentored. They are the real product of her work, she said. To move the field of battery technology forward, every researcher has a role to play, coming up with creative ideas as well as cranking through the “boring” or less glamorous work that needs to be done. For her, she’s particularly interested right now in partnering with industry, moving ideas from the lab to the marketplace and helping build a healthy ecosystem for battery development.

Symposium X—Frontiers of Materials Research features lectures aimed at a broad audience to provide meeting attendees with an overview of leading-edge topics.

Got a Multiple Sclerosis sensor? Kateryna says YES!

The brain controls our actions. It uses nerve cells to instruct and communicate with the rest of the body. If you want to sit, the brain signals your muscles to contract by firing action potential down the nerve fibers. A protective insulating coating surrounds the nerve fibers to preserve the signal fidelity, so your muscles get the right message. But if this protective layer is damaged, the signal sent by the brain could get corrupted, thus potentially disabling your brain and central nervous system. This is what happens in the autoimmune disease called Multiple sclerosis (MS). Autoimmune means that your own body's immune system causes this nerve damage.

An estimated 2.8 million people have MS worldwide. Although there is no cure, diagnosis and monitoring can help manage the symptoms and improve the affected people's lifestyle. So, we need a sensor that can help us do that. Neurofilament light chain (NF-L) is the potential biomarker for MS and other neurological disorders. If we can detect this protein, which is released into the cerebrospinal fluid and blood due to the above nerve damage, we can assess the extent of MS.

Kateryna Solodka from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy developed an ultra-sensitive label-free organic transistor-based sensor that can help monitor MS by detecting NF-L.

Kateryna at 2022 MRS Spring Meeting

I can't wait to see it developed as a commercial product, improving the lives of affected people worldwide! Thank you, Kateryna, for such impactful work!

More Info: Detection of Neurofilament Light Chain with Label-Free Electrolyte-Gated Organic Field-Effect Transistors

EQ03.20.01: Label-Free, Sub-Picomolar Detection of Neurofilament Light Chain with Electrolyte-Gated Organic Field-Effect Transistor-Based Biosensors


Plant Health Electronics

Plant Electronics

Plants are as living as humans and need to be healthy for their proper functioning. By developing sensors that can monitor their health, we can take steps that can improve the yield and quality of bio-products. Sugar is one of the most critical components that dictate health and growth. The desired sensor needs to be minimally invasive and should be able to provide real-time monitoring; simultaneously, being cheap can improve the adaptability and widespread use of the technology.

Eleni Stavrinidou from Linköping University presented the transistor-based health monitor devices that can be interfaced with plants. They can also control their physiology. For example, when plants are stressed in drought-hit areas, the developed bioelectronics devices can release biomolecules that help close their pores to prevent water loss and relieve stress.

With the increased risk of climate change and growing population, these sophisticated tools can help plants increase their productivity.

For more info: Diurnal in vivo xylem sap glucose and sucrose monitoring using implantable organic electrochemical transistor sensors

EQ03.15.03: Organic Bioelectronics for Real Time Monitoring and Dynamic Regulation of Plant Physiology

Image Source: Eleni Stavrinidou