Long-Lived, Transferred Crystalline Silicon Carbide Nanomembranes for Implantable Flexible Electronics

Hoang Phuong Phan*, Yishan Zhong, Tuan Khoa Nguyen, Yoonseok Park, Toan Dinh, Enming Song, Raja Kumar Vadivelu, Mostafa Kamal Masud, Jinghua Li, Muhammad J.A. Shiddiky, Dzung Dao, Yusuke Yamauchi, John A. Rogers, Nam Trung Nguyen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Implantable electronics are of great interest owing to their capability for real-time and continuous recording of cellular-electrical activity. Nevertheless, as such systems involve direct interfaces with surrounding biofluidic environments, maintaining their long-term sustainable operation, without leakage currents or corrosion, is a daunting challenge. Herein, we present a thin, flexible semiconducting material system that offers attractive attributes in this context. The material consists of crystalline cubic silicon carbide nanomembranes grown on silicon wafers, released and then physically transferred to a final device substrate (e.g., polyimide). The experimental results demonstrate that SiC nanomembranes with thicknesses of 230 nm do not experience the hydrolysis process (i.e., the etching rate is 0 nm/day at 96 °C in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)). There is no observable water permeability for at least 60 days in PBS at 96 °C and non-Na+ ion diffusion detected at a thickness of 50 nm after being soaked in 1× PBS for 12 days. These properties enable Faradaic interfaces between active electronics and biological tissues, as well as multimodal sensing of temperature, strain, and other properties without the need for additional encapsulating layers. These findings create important opportunities for use of flexible, wide band gap materials as essential components of long-lived neurological and cardiac electrophysiological device interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11572-11581
Number of pages10
JournalACS nano
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 22 2019


  • flexible electronics
  • implantable electronics
  • long-lived operation
  • multifunctional sensing
  • neuro-electrophysiology
  • silicon carbide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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