Electronics and Bioelectronics
The Electronics and Bioelectronics Sector represents the convergence of electronics and biology for interconnected tools and solutions. In the late 19th century visionaries such as Thomas Eddison and Nikola Tesla laid the foundation for modern electronics, followed by the invention of the transistor and emergence of the first pacemakers in the mid-20th century. Over the years these have paved the way for today’s era of modern electronics, nanotechnology and quantum computing, as well as rapid advancements in microelectronics, sensor technology and biomaterials for medical devices and innovative diagnostic platforms. While the potential in this sector is boundless, it also has its challenges; miniaturisation and energy efficiency demands continue to grow in an industry facing resource scarcity and environmental concerns, as well as issues of data security and biocompatibility. These challenges drive the quest for advanced materials to unlock possibilities and advancements in this industry. Goodfellow, a trusted supplier of high-quality advanced materials and expert technical services, provides solutions to electronics and bioelectronics challenges, applications and industry.
Electronics are now integral to nearly all aspects of our lives and industries. With ever-increasing performance demands in terms of operating speeds and heat loads, and a need for lighter-weight components to improve portability, the electronics sector has become immensely demanding in terms of its materials science requirements.
Materials science developments are also evolving in several directions. While materials that have electron mobilities and therefore reduced heat production is one highly active area of research and development, other new applications include finding materials that can be used in the creation of ‘soft electronics.’
Soft electronics are flexible components that can still serve the same purpose as more traditional, rigid electronic circuitry. For the bioelectronics sector, soft electronics are a highly active area of development as finding materials that could be both conductive, biocompatible, and flexible would usher in whole new possibilities in terms of biosensor and implant designs.
However, soft electronics have challenging design requirements. Many soft electronics systems are polymer-based, and finding ways to print flexible circuitry that is still sufficiently conductive to operate is challenging. There have been a number of breakthroughs in the area that have meant it is now possible to find materials suitable for making such devices that can also be used to interface with biological systems.
Electronics and Bioelectronics Sector Challenges
As well as overcoming many of the material science challenges associated with regulatory compliance for biomaterials, the bioelectronics and electronics sector faces a particularly stark challenge in terms of continuing materials shortages – in particular, semiconductor chips.
Bioelectronics, in particular, often face long development times due to the need for extensive materials testing. Regulatory compliance means that both the raw materials involved in any device must be tested, as well as the components in the assembled form. For devices intended for long-term implantation in the body, the requirements become particularly stringent to avoid any unwanted side effects from extractables or leachables from any of the materials as well as possible degradation or breakdown.
Expensive R&D costs and high-risk developments also mean profitability is a concern in the sector. While demand for electronic devices seems insatiable, a complex global supply chain is involved in developing and manufacturing products and devices, so careful and efficient supplier support is essential to minimise costs and ensure materials can be sourced and delivered on time.
Goodfellow offers over 150,000 specialist materials for research and development and has expertise in providing off-the-shelf and bespoke solutions to customers in a number of different industries. Its extensive catalogue of materials and 48-hour despatch times mean that Goodfellow can support rapid prototyping and development work.
Material Options for Electronics and Bioelectronics
Trying to find the optimal choice for development work in electronics and bioelectronics can be a challenging task. There are now an overwhelming number of technical materials available, each with unique properties, and finding the right one for an application can require extensive, time-consuming research.
Goodfellow has expertise working across a number of different sectors, including electronics applications in engineering and healthcare, and can bring its knowledge about materials innovation and development to your project. Whether through bespoke and custom engineering, the manufacture of an existing material to address your needs, or by providing a new, custom alloy, Goodfellow can deliver fast solutions to your project
Goodfellow offers an extensive range of wires and other materials for the electronics sector, including high-quality silicon used in chip manufacturing. Examples of specialist materials available in the Goodfellow catalogue include niobium-titanium wire, which has been successfully used in the defence industry. To ensure the niobium-titanium wire would meet the harsher durability requirements while remaining cost-effective in the longer term, Goodfellow conducted extensive testing to guarantee the product could meet all client demands.
Other materials include the development of titanium shafts for use in high-power electric cars, where the shaft needed to be capable of delivering 150 hp and not being affected by any of the electrical or magnetic fields present in the vehicle.
Specifically for bioelectronics applications, Goodfellow can provide high-quality materials that are also biocompatible. Goodfellow’s platinum meshes have been integrated into bioelectronic devices in the form of the counter electrode, where very small impedance spectra needed to be measured, so it was essential no additional noise was introduced in the measurements.
Other materials include the provision of biomaterials such as cellulose for the creation of biomembranes in bioelectronic devices. For many devices, it is essential that the thickness of materials is accurately known, and Goodfellow’s stringent quality control can ensure you have full traceability history on your materials and know exactly what you are working with.
Whether you need small quantities for prototype development and testing or large-scale materials for manufacturing your product, Goodfellow can support you in achieving your goals.