Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Electronics


Clinical documentation has undergone a change due to the usage of electronic health records. The core element is to capture clinical findings and document therapy electronically. Health care personnel spend a significant portion of their time on the computer. Alternatives to self-typing, such as speech recognition, are currently believed to increase documentation efficiency and quality, as well as satisfaction of health professionals while accomplishing clinical documentation, but few studies in this area have been published to date.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Speech recognition, Electronics, Electronic engineering


Today’s consumer electronics, such as cell phones, tablets and other portable electronic devices, are typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable, and sometimes potentially toxic (for example, gallium arsenide) materials. These consumer electronics are frequently upgraded or discarded, leading to serious environmental contamination. Thus, electronic systems consisting of renewable and biodegradable materials and minimal amount of potentially toxic materials are desirable. Here we report high-performance flexible microwave and digital electronics that consume the smallest amount of potentially toxic materials on biobased, biodegradable and flexible cellulose nanofibril papers. Furthermore, we demonstrate gallium arsenide microwave devices, the consumer wireless workhorse, in a transferrable thin-film form. Successful fabrication of key electrical components on the flexible cellulose nanofibril paper with comparable performance to their rigid counterparts and clear demonstration of fungal biodegradation of the cellulose-nanofibril-based electronics suggest that it is feasible to fabricate high-performance flexible electronics using ecofriendly materials.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Electricity, Integrated circuit, Transistor, Capacitor, Electronics, Radio, Electronic engineering


Temperature is one of the most important environmental stimuli to record and amplify. While traditional thermoelectric materials are attractive for temperature/heat flow sensing applications, their sensitivity is limited by their low Seebeck coefficient (∼100 μV K(-1)). Here we take advantage of the large ionic thermoelectric Seebeck coefficient found in polymer electrolytes (∼10,000 μV K(-1)) to introduce the concept of ionic thermoelectric gating a low-voltage organic transistor. The temperature sensing amplification of such ionic thermoelectric-gated devices is thousands of times superior to that of a single thermoelectric leg in traditional thermopiles. This suggests that ionic thermoelectric sensors offer a way to go beyond the limitations of traditional thermopiles and pyroelectric detectors. These findings pave the way for new infrared-gated electronic circuits with potential applications in photonics, thermography and electronic-skins.

Concepts: Energy, Thermodynamics, Transistor, Diode, Electronics, Thermoelectric effect, Organic semiconductor, Amplifier


Rapid advancements in stretchable and multifunctional electronics impose the challenge on corresponding power devices that they should have comparable stretchability and functionality. We report a soft skin-like triboelectric nanogenerator (STENG) that enables both biomechanical energy harvesting and tactile sensing by hybridizing elastomer and ionic hydrogel as the electrification layer and electrode, respectively. For the first time, ultrahigh stretchability (uniaxial strain, 1160%) and transparency (average transmittance, 96.2% for visible light) are achieved simultaneously for an energy-harvesting device. The soft TENG is capable of outputting alternative electricity with an instantaneous peak power density of 35 mW m(-2) and driving wearable electronics (for example, an electronic watch) with energy converted from human motions, whereas the STENG is pressure-sensitive, enabling its application as artificial electronic skin for touch/pressure perception. Our work provides new opportunities for multifunctional power sources and potential applications in soft/wearable electronics.

Concepts: Electricity, Light, Capacitor, Diode, Electrical engineering, Electronics, Visible spectrum, Debut albums


Human skin relies on cutaneous receptors that output digital signals for tactile sensing in which the intensity of stimulation is converted to a series of voltage pulses. We present a power-efficient skin-inspired mechanoreceptor with a flexible organic transistor circuit that transduces pressure into digital frequency signals directly. The output frequency ranges between 0 and 200 hertz, with a sublinear response to increasing force stimuli that mimics slow-adapting skin mechanoreceptors. The output of the sensors was further used to stimulate optogenetically engineered mouse somatosensory neurons of mouse cortex in vitro, achieving stimulated pulses in accordance with pressure levels. This work represents a step toward the design and use of large-area organic electronic skins with neural-integrated touch feedback for replacement limbs.

Concepts: Sensory system, Skin, Sense, Somatosensory system, Sound, Electronics, Pacinian corpuscle, Meissner's corpuscle


Pencil traces drawn on print papers are shown to function as strain gauges and chemiresistors. Regular graphite/clay pencils can leave traces composed of percolated networks of fine graphite powders, which exhibit reversible resistance changes upon compressive or tensile deflections. Flexible toy pencils can leave traces that are essentially thin films of graphite/polymer composites, which show reversible changes in resistance upon exposure to volatile organic compounds due to absorption/desorption induced swelling/recovery of the polymer binders. Pencil-on-paper devices are low-cost, extremely simple and rapid to fabricate. They are light, flexible, portable, disposable, and do not generate potentially negative environmental impact during processing and device fabrication. One can envision many other types of pencil drawn paper electronic devices that can take on a great variety of form factors. Hand drawn devices could be useful in resource-limited or emergency situations. They could also lead to new applications integrating art and electronics.

Concepts: Graphite, Writing, Volatile organic compound, Electronics, Electronic engineering, Pencil, Stationery, Grey Knotts


This study investigates the results of a questionnaire, provocative tests, and ultrasonographic measurements of carpal tunnel morphological parameters in intensive and nonintensive electronic device users.

Concepts: Electronics, Ulnar nerve, Student, Carpal tunnel, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Carpus, Flexor retinaculum of the hand, Transverse engine


Molecular electronics aims to miniaturize electronic devices by using subnanometre-scale active components. A single-molecule diode, a circuit element that directs current flow, was first proposed more than 40 years ago and consisted of an asymmetric molecule comprising a donor-bridge-acceptor architecture to mimic a semiconductor p-n junction. Several single-molecule diodes have since been realized in junctions featuring asymmetric molecular backbones, molecule-electrode linkers or electrode materials. Despite these advances, molecular diodes have had limited potential for applications due to their low conductance, low rectification ratios, extreme sensitivity to the junction structure and high operating voltages. Here, we demonstrate a powerful approach to induce current rectification in symmetric single-molecule junctions using two electrodes of the same metal, but breaking symmetry by exposing considerably different electrode areas to an ionic solution. This allows us to control the junction’s electrostatic environment in an asymmetric fashion by simply changing the bias polarity. With this method, we reliably and reproducibly achieve rectification ratios in excess of 200 at voltages as low as 370 mV using a symmetric oligomer of thiophene-1,1-dioxide. By taking advantage of the changes in the junction environment induced by the presence of an ionic solution, this method provides a general route for tuning nonlinear nanoscale device phenomena, which could potentially be applied in systems beyond single-molecule junctions.

Concepts: Cathode, Vacuum tube, Semiconductor, Transistor, Electrode, Diode, Electronics, P-n junction


The rapid development of miniaturized electronic devices has increased the demand for compact on-chip energy storage. Microscale supercapacitors have great potential to complement or replace batteries and electrolytic capacitors in a variety of applications. However, conventional micro-fabrication techniques have proven to be cumbersome in building cost-effective micro-devices, thus limiting their widespread application. Here we demonstrate a scalable fabrication of graphene micro-supercapacitors over large areas by direct laser writing on graphite oxide films using a standard LightScribe DVD burner. More than 100 micro-supercapacitors can be produced on a single disc in 30 min or less. The devices are built on flexible substrates for flexible electronics and on-chip uses that can be integrated with MEMS or CMOS in a single chip. Remarkably, miniaturizing the devices to the microscale results in enhanced charge-storage capacity and rate capability. These micro-supercapacitors demonstrate a power density of ~200 W cm-3, which is among the highest values achieved for any supercapacitor.

Concepts: Integrated circuit, Transistor, Capacitor, Electronics, Flywheel energy storage, Electronic engineering, Electrolytic capacitor, Blu-ray Disc


Self-assembly of biological molecules on solid materials is central to the “bottom-up” approach to directly integrate biology with electronics. Inspired by biology, exquisite biomolecular nanoarchitectures have been formed on solid surfaces. We demonstrate that a combinatorially-selected dodecapeptide and its variants self-assemble into peptide nanowires on two-dimensional nanosheets, single-layer graphene and MoS2. The abrupt boundaries of nanowires create electronic junctions via spatial biomolecular doping of graphene and manifest themselves as a self-assembled electronic network. Furthermore, designed peptides form nanowires on single-layer MoS2 modifying both its electric conductivity and photoluminescence. The biomolecular doping of nanosheets defined by peptide nanostructures may represent the crucial first step in integrating biology with nano-electronics towards realizing fully self-assembled bionanoelectronic devices.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Organism, Atom, Nanomaterials, Electronics, Electronic band structure, Biomolecule