3D-Printing of Functional Carbon Nanotube-Hydrogel Composites for Advanced Wearable Sensors

PI: Xuanhe Zhao, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWNTs) have been widely proposed as biosensor components for in vivo measuring of key physiological parameters yet solubility, handling and toxicity issues prevent their widespread usage. To address this issue, this proposal plans to develop functional and printable SWNT-hydrogel composites. These composites retain the advantageous sensing capabilities of SWNTs while introducing the desirable biocompatibility and mechanical properties of robust hydrogels. Optimization of the hydrogel formulation will be carried out to obtain the desired composite morphology (SWNT dispersion), mechanical and rheological properties. To demonstrate the strength of this approach, a glucose-sensing optical device will be printed using the SWNT-hydrogel composite and tested at physiological conditions. The development of SWNT-hydrogel hybrid biosensors would be a first step to address the critical challenge of real- time, in vivo monitoring of physiological parameters.

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