Nanotechnology & Medical Device Development

Bots 'N Brains December 12, 2020 2 Comments

The production of medical devices using systems and methods of nanotechnology is just getting underway. A National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center to investigate and do basic research on self-powered health monitoring will be led by North Carolina State University. The software is called ASSIST, for Integrated Sensors and Technology Advanced Self-Powered Systems.

In daily life, medical devices have become indispensable and serve growing demand. Medical device applications range from big devices (e.g. heart-lung machines) to diagnostic instruments such as software and implants, injection needles and to name a few, mechanical contraceptives. The compatibility of the materials utilized to create medical devices with the biological surfaces they encounter is of high importance, especially for the use of such devices at and within the human body.

An indispensable aspect of the field of medical devices is nanotechnology. With nanotechnology, the extremely small size of batteries (e.g. pacemakers) or electronic circuits and sensors used in medical devices today has been made possible. New teeth-filling ceramics or dental implant screws are increasingly made up of materials derived from sintered nanopowders (comparable to 3D printing) or have a specially built surface made of so-called nanostructures.

Supported over five years by an NSF grant of $18.5 million, the goal is to build nanoscale sensors powered by the body’s own energy, thus removing the need for battery power. The sensors would be built into wearable devices, such as patches or wristbands, which would provide continuous monitoring of heart rate, respiration rate, and other measures of health, as well as environmental pollutant exposure monitoring.

This news is representative of where the design and production of medical devices are going. While the program is just getting underway and the technology is in the very early phase of testing, Forma hopes to actively contribute by helping to conceptualize what these devices might become and how the nanotechnology might be packaged in future medical devices.

AboutPrathamesh Gosavi

Comments (02)

  1. December 22, 2020

    National Institute for Public Health and the Environment provides an overview of nanotechnology enabled medical devices. Examples include implants equipped with nanocoatings, materials mimicking natural tissue, devices employing the electric and magnetic properties of nanomaterials and applications in oncology for detection and treatment of cancer. Nanotechnology is a technological development that enables us to use extremely small particles to make new materials with interesting and useful characteristics. This opens up a range of possibilities for new and special applications, which are being worked on worldwide. Numerous medical disciplines benefit from innovative features enabled by nanotechnologies. Knowledge about the safety evaluation of nanotechnology is also evolving. 

  2. December 30, 2020

    Nanotechnology’s advent helps in realising such goals and market needs by driving the prices down by changing the strategy of packaging the device as a one-time use and throw device. Patch clamps are very elaborate and sophisticated so cannot be made into a one-time use and throw device. But with nanotechnology we can make devices better than patch clamps with superior performance (10) by using Silicon Nanowire Field Effect Transistors, or carbon nanotube field effect transistors and other nanoscale structure based field effect transistor. These kinds of superior miniaturisation of medical devices are one of the hot beds for innovations and investments. Abhishek Gottipati holds a master’s degree in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India and is currently enrolled into the PhD programme at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University at Albany, Albany, NY. His area of interest is nanobiosciences with specific focus on studying carbon nanotube-cell interactions.


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