The Rivnay group’s research centers on the unique properties of electrically and optically active polymers and small molecules and their utility in devices for interfacing with biological systems.
Fundamentals of materials
While materials such as commercially available conducting polymers have shown promise in biomedical applications, little is known about the properties that make them useful for these applications. Their soft mechanical properties, facile functionalization, and mixed ionic and electronic transport have all been found to be favorable for biointerfacing. How do we learn from and better design such systems? How can we tailor these materials to most effectively tackle hard problems in biointerfacing? To do this, we must study the fundamental transport and structural properties, and learn how external stimuli can modulate these properties.
The materials of interest can be integrated into numerous types of devices: arrays of electrodes, electrochemical transistors, switchable active surfaces, and electrophoretic delivery devices, which present opportunities to stimulate or interrogate the local environment through electrical, chemical, electrochemical, optical or mechanical means.
Recording arrays, stimulators, and active scaffolds made with novel bioelectronic materials bring new advantages to biomedical devices. Their unique materials and device properties allow for operating regimes of high sensitivity and/or low power consumption, and can bridge to signaling gap, and the mechanical mismatch that affects device utility and longevity when in contact with cells or tissue.
Previous work has targeted in vivo probes for epilepsy diagnostics and therapeutics, recording devices for clinical EEG and ECG, platforms for in vitro toxicology, and smart surfaces and scaffolds for affecting cell adhesion, motility and morphology relevant for active constructs for tissue engineering and cell guidance.