Self-Destructing Gadgets And Medical Implants Made From Silk

Self-Destructing Gadgets And Medical Implants Made From Silk

By Shinji Tutoru

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS, USA. Researchers have come up with nanometre-thick devices using a special silk coating. They are aiming to control the actual lifespan of the devices with the special silk coating that it is actually made with. It is supposed to melt away or self-destruct when it’s no longer needed whenever they want to. It is not just aimed to be used for electronic gadgets but also for medical purposes. That way, it will be easier to control post-surgical infections by killing bacteria. DARPA, a US military research agency has also asked the developers to create a very tiny dissolvable digital camera using the special silk.

The special silk is built with a crystalline structure that can be controlled easily by changing its structure to the point that liquids such as water can easily dissolve it. Since the structure can be controlled easily, the silk can be destroyed in a few minutes or even after a few months or even years. The materials used for it is non-toxic and can easily dissolve in liquid environments such as the human body.

John Rogers led the team of researchers and developers for the special silk coating. The study is a collaboration of electronic engineers, biophysicists and material scientists. The research was funded by US military research agency DARPA. The silk package that was used as animal implants was sent out to Tufts University’s Hu Tao. According to him, blood vessels grew into and around the silk package and it didn’t have any inflammation which means the silk is biocompatible. Aside from medical implants, the silk may also be used for electronics with limited lifespan since it is stiff like an acetate slide.

It has been considered as a remarkable achievement. Although the silk may be used for environmental applications, it would still be more beneficial to the medical field than for any other purposes.

Invention Silk Coatings
Organization University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
Researcher John Rogers & Team
Field(s) Nanotechnology, Medical Implants, Silk, Electronics, Animal Implants, Medical Devices
Further Information New Scientist

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