The scientists found their hydrothermally treated polymer electrodes functioned well in e-skin devices. (Credit: DGIST)

Scientists have improved electrical conductivity in a polymer electrode for e-skin applications. Their approach is simple and cheap, but further enhancements are needed for the polymer to become a viable alternative to more expensive gold electrodes.

Among promising alternative materials for electrodes is the polymer PEDOT:PSS. It is biocompatible with human skin, and it is flexible and relatively cheap. It can be easily manufactured and made into an electrode.

The researchers found a nontoxic method that significantly improves performance. They developed a hydrothermal treatment, involving humidity and heat, that enhanced the conductivity of PEDOT:PSS films by a factor of 250. Adding humidity to a thin film of PEDOT:PSS separated the two types of molecules with a screen of water, while adding heat expanded the PEDOT chains, increasing the material’s overall crystallinity. These structural changes improved the material’s conductivity from 0.495 to 125.367 Siemens per centimeter (S/cm).

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Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2021 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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