Epidermal Electronic Systems for Measuring the Thermal Properties of Human Skin at Depths of up to Several Millimeters

Surabhi R. Madhvapathy, Yinji Ma, Manish Patel, Siddharth Krishnan, Chen Wei, Yajing Li, Shuai Xu, Xue Feng, Yonggang Huang*, John A. Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Monitoring the composition, blood flow properties, and hydration status of human skin can be important in diagnosing disease and tracking overall health. Current methods are largely limited to clinical environments, and they primarily measure properties of superficial layers of the skin, such as the stratum corneum (10–40 µm). This work introduces soft, skin-like thermal depth sensors (e-TDS) in designs that seamlessly couple with human skin and measure its thermal properties with depth sensitivity that can extend up to 6 mm beneath the surface. Guidelines for tailoring devices to enable measurements through different effective depths follow from a systematic set of experiments, supported by theoretical modeling. On-body testing validates the physiological relevance of measurements using the e-TDS platform, with potential to aid the diagnosis of deep cutaneous and systemic diseases. Specific demonstrations include measurements that capture responses ranging from superficial changes in skin properties that result from application of a moisturizer, to changes in microvascular flow at intermediate depths induced by heating/cooling, to detection of inflammation in the deep dermis and subcutaneous fat in an incidence of a local bacterial infection, cellulitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1802083
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 22 2018


  • depth sensing
  • epidermal electronics
  • monitoring skin health
  • thermal conductivity
  • thermal sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrochemistry
  • Biomaterials


Dive into the research topics of 'Epidermal Electronic Systems for Measuring the Thermal Properties of Human Skin at Depths of up to Several Millimeters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this