Researchers have designed wood-derived electronic-skin substrates for electrophysiological monitoring that are functional, sustainable, and comfortable. The cellulose-based material is essentially paper made up of tiny nanofibers, giving it the name nanopaper e-skin, and it is the gaps between the fibers, whose size can be controlled, that give the substrate its edge.

Because the nanopaper is a mesh of very fine fibers, it maintains good contact with the skin, but it also has pores, meaning that water vapor can pass through, reducing inflammation and making it comfortable to wear. Once wet, the nanopaper was able to stick to skin because of the action of the water in the pores and was able to withstand 100 cycles of deformation on the forehead while maintaining function. The nanopaper could also be sterilized at high temperature.

The availability, flexibility, thermal stability, biocompatibility, skin-conformability and -breathability, toughness, and environmental sustainability of the substrate all combine to make it a highly promising candidate for electrophysiological monitoring that the researchers expect to easily translate into the clinic for the measurement of data such as ECGs. (Image credit: Osaka University)

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