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January 9, 2014

Researchers develop ultra-thin flexible circuit

They can be wrapped around a single human hair without causing any damage to the electronics, ETH Zurich claims.

By CBR Staff Writer

Researchers have developed a an ultra-thin and flexible circuit that can be wrapped around a single human hair, they claim.

The invention is anticipated to have a potential application for implantable medical devices, and could be used to develop a ‘smart contact lens’ that could keep an eye on intraocular pressure for glaucoma patients.

One of the researchers from at Switzerland’s ETH Zurich University, Niko Munzenrieder, said the new thin-film transistors adhere to a wide range of surfaces and adapt perfectly.

"In the lab, the film can be easily connected to the energy supply under a microscope," Munzenrieder said.

"However, a different solution would need to be found for a unit attached to the actual eye."

The circuit is created on a substance called ‘parylene’ by depositing layers through the use of e-beam evaporation, atomic layer deposition, spin coating and radio frequency sputtering.

The parylene film has utmost thickness of 0.001 mm, which makes it 50 times thinner compared to a human hair.

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In addition, researchers claim that parylene can also survive high temperatures and cannot be hit by the etchands and solvents used during the fabrication process.

The new technology, however, is not expected to be commercially launched within five years, researchers added.

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