The use of inorganic-based flexible piezoelectric thin films for biomedical applications has been actively investigated as they are highly piezoelectric, pliable, slim, lightweight, and biocompatible. When fabricated on plastic substrates, these films can convert ambient mechanical energy into electric signals, even responding to tiny movements on corrugated surfaces of internal organs and nanoscale biomechanical vibrations caused by acoustic waves. These inherent properties enable the development of not only self-powered energy harvesters to replace the batteries of bio-implantable medical devices but also sensitive nanosensors for in-vivo diagnosis/therapy systems.
Now, in new work, KAIST researchers discuss the recent progress of flexible piezoelectric thin-film harvesters and nanosensors for use in biomedical fields. The group firstly focus on the development of flexible piezoelectric energy harvesting devices using high-quality perovskite thin film and innovative flexible fabrication processes. They then investigate their biomedical applications in, for example self-powered cardiac pacemakers, acoustic nanosensors for biomimetic artificial hair cells, in-vivo energy harvesters driven by organ movements, and mechanical sensors for detecting nanoscale cellular deflections. Finally, they discuss the outlook for entirely self-powered biomedical systems.