IFETC 2021 plenary presentations are listed below. Please check back for updates.

Manufacturing of Low Cost Wearable Human Health Monitoring Devices

Azar Alizadeh

GE Research

Wireless wearable devices can continuously assess and communicate the condition of patients and are crucial components of digital mobile health platforms. General societal trends across the globe, including a shortage of centralized laboratory and medical facilities, aging populations with increasing incidence of infectious and chronic diseases, earlier diagnosis of diseases, personalized medicine, companion testing for pharmaceutical use, government initiatives and insurance acceptance, are all important factors behind the demand for reliable, low-cost, wireless, wearable health monitoring and medical devices. Fortunately, technological building blocks for implementation of these devices have evolved to the point that we believe that such monitoring will progress into a fully mobile approach in a near future, enabling continuous monitoring across acute, ambulatory and home care. In the past decade, a number of wireless physiological monitoring devices have been developed and tested in various clinical settings and a few of them are at early stages of product release. Furthermore, in 2020, due to the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous wearable devices were investigated for early infection detection and patient monitoring in hospital and nursing home settings. In spite of this tremendous potential and significant investments by both device developers and government agencies, broad adoption of wearable medical devices has not fully realized yet. The barriers to broad adoption include device cost and performance challenges, ease of use, integration of devices within the remote care flow system as well as lack of robust reimbursement models. In this talk, we will discuss flexible hybrid electronic manufacturing opportunities and challenges to create low cost, high performance wireless sensor systems for patient monitoring. We will highlight the critical need and progress towards: 1- enabling the supply chain workflows that allow for low cost and sustainable manufacturing solutions at large volumes, 2- partnerships with the medical community and end-user communities (patients and warfighters) to conduct well-designed human subjects studies and clinical trials that allow for an independent assessment and refinement of these devices with a direct feedback from end-users.

A Principal Scientist at GE Research, Dr. Azar Alizadeh is the Principal Investigator on multiple US Department of Defense (DARPA, NextFlex and NBMC- AFRL) sponsored programs and leads cross-functional teams of industrial and academic partners to develop advanced computational platforms and wireless health and performance monitoring systems. The wearable sensing platforms developed by these teams enable vital signs as well as sweat and interstitial biochemical measurement capabilities and have the potential to revolutionize medicine and performance monitoring through early detection of illness, infection, fatigue and injury. Dr. Alizadeh holds a PhD in physics, is a NextFlex fellow, has co-authored 50 peer reviewed publications, and holds 20 US patents/patent applications. Dr. Alizadeh is the co-Lead on the NextFlex Human Monitoring Systems and serves on the Governing Council of NBMC. Dr Alizadeh is the recipient of GE 2019 Edison Award and Semi Flexi 2017 Award.

Printable Nanoelectronics via Innovative Manufacturing Paradigms

Thomas Anthopoulos

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The relentless downscaling of the silicon transistor has been the primary driving force behind the continuous innovations witnessed in the traditional semiconductor industry over the past fifty years. However, adopting a similar approach to emerging semiconductor technologies has proven challenging both in terms of technology and economics. In this talk I will discuss the various challenges that such emerging technologies face in combing upscalable manufacturing methods with the required performance specifications, followed by the presentation of recent important accomplishments. Particular emphasis will be placed on work from our laboratory on new materials and processing paradigms for the development of nanostructured large-volume (opto)electronics for use in sensing, energy harvesting and radio frequency telecommunication systems of the future.

Thomas D. Anthopoulos is a Professor of Material Science and Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. He received his B.Eng. and D.Phil. degrees from Staffordshire University in UK. He then spent two years at the University of St. Andrews (UK) where he worked on organic semiconductors for application in light-emitting diodes before join Philips Research Laboratories in The Netherlands to focus on printable microelectronics. From 2006 to 2017 he held faculty positions at Imperial College London (UK), first as an EPSRC Advanced Fellow and later as a Reader and full Professor of Experimental Physics. His research interests are diverse and cover the development and application of novel processing paradigms and the physics, chemistry & application of functional materials.

Flexible Arrays of Printed Devices and Their Use in Wearable Medical Devices.

Ana Claudia Arias

University of California, Berkeley

Fabrication of wearable medical sensors heavily relies on conventional semiconductor vacuum processing. We have adopted the unique manufacturing capabilities of printed electronics and designed wearable medical devices that are soft, lightweight, and skin-like. These soft and conformable sensors significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by establishing a high-fidelity sensor-skin interface. Over the past 8 years we have used different printing techniques for fabricating wearable medical sensors in two sensing modalities: bioelectronic and biophotonic. In bioelectronic sensing, we have designed and fabricated flexible and inkjet-printed gold electrode arrays which were implemented in a smart bandage for early-detection of pressure ulcers. Recently, the efficacy of the electrodes is demonstrated on conformal surfaces and on the skin to record electrocardiography (ECG) and electromyography (EMG) signals. In biophotonic sensing, we have demonstrated a flexible and printed sensor array composed of organic light-emitting diodes and organic photodiodes, which senses reflected light from tissue to determine the oxygen saturation. We use the reflectance oximeter array beyond the conventional sensing locations. The sensor is implemented to measure oxygen saturation on the forehead with 1.1% mean error and to create 2D oxygenation maps of adult forearms under pressure-cuff–induced ischemia. In addition, we present mathematical models to determine oxygenation in the presence and absence of a pulsatile arterial blood signal. In this talk I will also discuss the challenges of integrating soft sensors with hard silicon-based integrated circuits for wearable health monitoring.

Prof. Arias received her PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge, UK in 2001. Prior to that, she received her master and bachelor degrees in Physics from the Federal University of Paraná in Curitiba, Brazil in 1997 and 1995 respectively. She joined the University of California, Berkeley in January of 2011. Prof. Arias was the Manager of the Printed Electronic Devices Area and a Member of Research Staff at PARC, a Xerox Company. She went to PARC, in 2003, from Plastic Logic in Cambridge, UK where she led the semiconductor group. Her research focuses on the use of electronic materials processed from solution in flexible electronic systems. She uses printing techniques to fabricate flexible large area electronic devices and sensors.

Skin-Inspired Organic Electronics

Zhenan Bao

K.K. Lee Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Courtesy Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Director of Stanford Wearable Electronics Initiative (eWEAR)

Images of stretchable electronic skin. Image credit: Amir Foudeh, Sihong Liu of Bao Group, Stanford University
Skin is the body’s largest organ, and is responsible for the transduction of a vast amount of information. This conformable, stretchable, self-healable and biodegradable material simultaneously collects signals from external stimuli that translate into information such as pressure, pain, and temperature. The development of electronic materials, inspired by the complexity of this organ is a tremendous, unrealized materials challenge. However, the advent of organic-based electronic materials may offer a potential solution to this longstanding problem. Over the past decade, we have developed materials design concepts to add skin-like functions to organic electronic materials without compromising their electronic properties. These new materials and new devices enabled arrange of new applications in medical devices, robotics and wearable electronics. In this talk, I will discuss several projects related to engineering conductive materials and developing fabrication methods to allow electronics with effective electrical interfaces with biological systems, through tuning their electrical as well as mechanical properties. The end result is a soft electrical interface that has both low interfacial impedance as well as match mechanical properties with biological tissue. Several new concepts, such as “morphing electronics” and “genetically targeted chemical assembly - GTCA” will be presented.

Zhenan Bao is Department Chair and K.K. Lee Professor of Chemical Engineering, and by courtesy, a Professor of Chemistry and a Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Bao founded the Stanford Wearable Electronics Initiate (eWEAR) in 2016 and serves as the faculty director. Prior to joining Stanford in 2004, she was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies from 1995-2004. She received her Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1995. She has over 550 refereed publications and over 65 US patents with a Google Scholar H-Index >160. Bao is a co-founder and on the Board of Directors for C3 Nano and PyrAmes, both are silicon-valley venture funded start-ups. She serves as an advising Partner for Fusion Venture Capital.

Organic Electrochemical Transistors for Bioelectronics

Jonathan Rivnay

Northwestern University

Organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) have gained considerable interest for applications in bioelectronics, power electronics, and neuromorphic computing. Their defining characteristic is the bulk modulation of channel conductance owing to the facile penetration of ions into the (semi)conducting polymer channel. These active channel materials, based on mixed ionic-electronic conducting polymers, can be readily adapted for use in biological settings, readily swell, and provide favorable mechanical properties for bio-interfacing. Their bulk transport properties and processability readily enable flexible, free standing devices, and unique form factors. In the first part of my talk, I will focus on OECT materials design for enhanced sensing characteristics. Synthetic design and processing can yield high performance mixed conductors with large volumetric capacitance and electronic mobility, and OECTs with high transconductance and steep subthreshold switching characteristics for low power sensing. By tailoring ionic transport and trapping characteristics, a range of applications can be targeted. I will then discuss how such materials design enables the development of devices and simple circuits comprised of OECTs that can impart added functionality to sensing nodes and may ease the burden on back end electronics for signal processing. I highlight recent efforts towards compact preamplification schemes and non-volatile devices for synaptic circuits. These efforts demonstrate promise and potential barriers for electrochemical transistors to address critical needs in bioelectronic interfacing.

Jonathan earned his B.Sc. in 2006 from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). He then moved to Stanford University (Stanford, CA) where he earned a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering studying the structure and electronic transport properties of organic electronic materials. In 2012, he joined the Department of Bioelectronics at the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne in France as a Marie Curie post-doctoral fellow, working on conducting polymer-based devices for bioelectronics. Jonathan spent 2015-2016 as a member of the research staff in the Printed Electronics group at the Palo Alto Research Center (Palo Alto, CA) before joining the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University in 2017. He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award, ONR Young Investigator award, and has been named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and MRS Outstanding Early Career Investigator.