BMSEED is a startup company based in Tempe, AZ. The goal of BMSEED is the development of commercial products that are based on recently discovered stretchable gold films. These gold films can be stretched by 10s of percent (e.g., from 10 mm length to 15 mm length) while remaining electrically conducting. By contrast, gold wires and most gold films rupture and loose electrical conduction when stretched by less than 1%. All products of BMSEED will largely consist of a gold film that is embedded in the soft elastomeric silicone polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). A particular focus are products for biomedical applications that require soft and stretchable electronic interfaces with cells, tissue or skin. BMSEED LLC was recently awarded a phase I SBIR grant from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS).
Tissue slice on a stretchable microelectrode array and recording traces(Applied Functional Materials, 2012)
Why are these features important?
Softness (low elastic modulus) and Compliance: The tissue and organs in the bodies of humans and animals are soft and round, whereas most electronic devices that interface with these bodies are hard and rigid. This mismatch in mechanical properties often leads to issues (rejection, scar tissue formation) at the device/tissue interface. Soft and compliant electronic devices could reduce or eliminate these issues.
Stretchability: In vivo Applications: The fact that our gold films are stretchable, i.e., they remain electrically conducting when stretched, improves the reliability and long term stability of our neural interfaces. When implanted in a human or an animal, neural interfaces are often bent to conform to surrounding organs or when entering/exiting the target organ. The electrodes (i.e., our gold film) on the neural interface are therefore either stretched or compressed, depending on their location with respect to the neutral plane. In convention neural interfaces, electrical failure often occurs at these bends over time. In BMSEED’s neural interfaces, the inherent stretchability of our gold films will greatly improve the reliability.
Stretching a tissue or cell is the underlying pathology of many different types of neurotrauma, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury (SCI) A repeated stretch and relaxation is also a necessity for the proper differentiation of stem cells, e.g., to promote a synchronized contraction in cardiomyocytes.