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Flexible Sensor-Integrated RFA Needle Leads to Smarter Medical Treatment
Clinical trial of flexible sensor-integrated radiofrequency ablation (RFA) needle tip monitors physical changes and steam pop Researchers have designed a thin polymeric sensor platform on a radiofrequency ablation needle to monitor temperature and pressure in real time. The sensors integrated onto 1.5 mm diameter needle tip have proven their efficacy during clinical tests and expect to provide a new opportunity for safer and more effective medical practices. The research was reported in Advanced Science as the frontispiece on August 5. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive surgery technique for removing tumors and treating cardiovascular disease. During a procedure, an unintended audible explosion called ‘steam pop’ can occur due to the increased internal steam pressure in the ablation region. This phenomenon has been cited as a cause of various negative thermal and mechanical effects on neighboring tissue. Even more, the relationship between steam pop and cancer recurrence is still being investigated. Professor Inkyu Park said that his team’s integrated sensors reliably detected the occurrence of steam pop. The sensors also monitor rapidly spreading hot steam in tissue. It is expected that the diverse properties of tissue undergoing RFA could be checked by utilizing the physical sensors integrated on the needle. “We believe that the integrated sensors can provide useful information about a variety of medical procedures and accompanying environmental changes in the human body, and help develop more effective and safer surgical procedures,” said Professor Park. Professor Park’s team built a thin film type pressure and temperature sensor stack with a thickness of less than 10 μm using a microfabrication process. For the pressure sensor, the team used contact resistance changes between metal electrodes and a carbon nanotube coated polymeric membrane. The entire sensor array was thoroughly insulated with medical tubes to minimize any exposure of the sensor materials to external tissue and maximize its biocompatibility. During the clinical trial, the research team found that the accumulated hot steam is suddenly released during steam pops and this hot air spreads to neighboring tissue, which accelerates the ablation process. Furthermore, using in-situ ultrasound imaging and computational simulations, the research team could confirm the non-uniform temperature distribution around the RFA needle can be one of the primary reasons for the steam popping. Professor Park explained that various physical and chemical sensors for different targets can be added to create other medical devices and industrial tools. “This result will expand the usability and applicability of current flexible sensor technologies. We are also trying to integrate this sensor onto a 0.3mm diameter needle for in-vivo diagnosis applications and expect that this approach can be applied to other medical treatments as well as the industrial field,” added Professor Park. This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea. -PublicationJaeho Park, Jinwoo Lee, Hyo Keun Lim, Inkyu Park et al. “Real-Time Internal Steam Pop Detection during Radiofrequency Ablation with a Radiofrequency Ablation Needle Integrated with a Temperature and Pressure Sensor: Preclinical and clinical pilot tests," Advanced Science (https://doi/org/10.1002/advs.202100725) on August 5, 2021 -ProfileProfessor Inkyu ParkMicro & Nano Tranducers Laboratory http://mintlab1.kaist.ac.kr/ Department of Mechanical EngineeringCollege of EngineeringKAIST
Tactile Sensor for Robot Skin Advanced by KAIST Team
The joint research team of Professors Jung Kim and Inkyu Park from the Department of Mechanical Engineering developed a tactile sensor that can act as skin for robots using silicon and carbon materials. This technology produced a sensor that can absorb shock and distinguish various forms of touch, and it is hoped to be used as robot skin in the future. Skin serves an important role as the largest organ of the human body. As well as protecting major organs from external shock, skin also measures and distinguishes delicate tactile information and transfer it to the nervous system. Current robotic sensory technology allows robots to have visual and auditory systems at nearly similar levels to human capacity, but there are limitations in tactile sensors that can detect changes in the environment throughout the body. To apply skin with similar functions as humans to robots, it is essential to develop skin sensor technology with high flexibility and high shock absorption. Another limitation for developing robot skin was connecting numerous sensors all over the body using electric wiring. To overcome this problem, the research team combined silicon and carbon nanotubes (CNT) to produce a composite, which was then used in combination with a medical imaging technique called electrical impedance tomography (EIT). This led to technology that can distinguish various forms of force over a large area without electrical wiring. The sensing material can distinguish the location and the size of various forms by touch, and thus can be applied to robot skin that can absorb shock as well as serves as a 3D computer interface and tactile sensor. It can withstand strong force such as a hammer strike, and can be re-used even after partial damage to the sensor by filling and hardening the damaged region with composite. Further, the sensor can be made by filling a 3D shape frame with silicon-nanotube composite. Using this technology, new forms of computer interaces can be developed with both curbed and flat surfaces. This research was conducted through a collaboration between Professor Park, an expert in nanostructures and sensors, and Professor Kim, an expert in bio-robotics. Hence, the technology is likely to be applied in real products. Professor Kim said, “Flexible tactile sensors can not only be directly adhered to the body, but they also provides information on modified states in multiple dimensions”. He continued, “This technology will contribute to the soft robot industry in the areas of robot skin and the field of wearable medical appliances.” Professor Park said, “This technology implemented a next-generation user interface through the integration of functional nano-composite material and computer tomography.” This research was published in Scientific Reports, a sister journal of Nature, online on January 25. This research was conducted as joint research by first author Hyo-Sang Lee, as well as Donguk Kwon and Ji-seung Cho, and was funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. (Fiigrue 1: Robotic hand responding to resistance via a connection with the developed tactile sensor) (Figure 2: Manufacturing process for pressure-resistant composite using silicon rubber and carbon nanotubes) (Figure 3: Computer interface using pressure-resistant composite)
KAIST doctoral student wins prize at 2014 International Military Science and Technology Fair
Min-Kyu Yoo (far left), a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science Engineering, KAIST, received a silver prize at the 2014 International Military Science and Technology Fair held from May 29 to June 1, 2014 at KINTEX, Ilsan City, Korea. Yoo presented a paper on aluminum composite materials that were reinforced by carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes reinforced aluminum composite materials have strong mechanical properties, and some nations have used them to manufacture battle tanks. Aluminum generates hydrogen in an alkaline solution. Utilizing this property and the galvanic corrosion of carbon nanotubes and aluminums, Yoo developed a hydrogen energy system that is fueled with composite materials of carbon nanotube reinforced aluminum. He produced 5 kW electric power and maintained it 22 days using 10 kg of the composite materials for a proton exchange membrane fuel cell and its auxiliary power system. Yoo’s research will alleviate the difficulty of transporting fuels during wartime and can be applied to the development of an auxiliary power system for next generation aircrafts and battle tanks.
Flexible Nanogenerator Technology
KAIST research team successfully developed the foundation technology that will enable to fabrication of low cost, large area nanogenerator. Professor Lee Gun Jae’s team (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) published a dissertation on a nanogenerator using nanocomplexes as the cover dissertation of the June edition of Advanced Materials. The developed technology is receiving rave reviews for having overcome the complex and size limitations of the nanogenerator fabrication process. A nanogenerator is an electricity generator that uses materials in the nanoscale and uses piezoelectricity that creates electricity with the application of physical force. The generation technology using piezoelectricity was appointed as one of top 10 promising technologies by MIT in 2009 and was included in the 45 innovative technologies that will shake the world by Popular Science Magazine in 2010. The only nanogenerator thus far was the ZnO model suggested by Georgia Tech’s Professor Zhong Lin Wang in 2005. Professor Lee’s team used ceramic thin film material BaTiO3 which has 15~20 times greater piezoelectric capacity than ZnO and thus improved the overall performance of the device. The use of a nanocomplex allows large scale production and the simplification of the fabrication process itself. The team created a mixture of PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) with BaTiO3 and either of CNT (Carbon Nanotube) or RGO (Reduced Graphene Oxide) which has high electrical conductivity and applied this mixture to create a large scale nanogenerator.
Biomimetic Carbon Nanotube Fiber Synthesis Technology Developed
The byssus of the mussel allows it to live in harsh conditions where it is constantly battered by crashing waves by allowing the mussel to latch onto the seaside rocks. This particular characteristic of the mussel is due to the unique structure and high adhesiveness of the mussel’s byssus. KAIST’s Professor Hong Soon Hyung (Department of Material Science and Engineering) and Professor Lee Hae Shin (Department of Chemistry) and the late Professor Park Tae Kwan (Department of Bio Engineering) were able to reproduce the mussel’s byssus using carbon nanotubes. The carbon nanotube, since its discovery in 1991, was regarded as the next generation material due to its electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties. However due to its short length of several nanometers, its industrial use was limited. The KAIST research team referred to the structure of the byssus of the mussel to solve this problem. The byssus is composed of collagen fibers and Mefp-1 protein which are in a cross-linking structure. The Mefp-1 protein has catecholamine that allows it to bind strongly with the collagen fiber. In the artificial structure, the carbon nanotube took on the role of the collagen fibers and the macromolecular adhesive took on the role of the catecholamine. The result was a fiber that was ultra-light and ultra-strong. The results of the experiment were published in the Advanced Materials magazine and is patent registered both domestically and internationally.
From Pencil Lead to Batteries: the Unlimited Transformation of Carbon
Those materials, like lead or diamond, made completely up of Carbon are being used in numerous ways as materials or parts. Especially with the discovery of carbon nanotubes, graphemes, and other carbon based materials in nanoscale, the carbon based materials are receiving a lot of interest in both fields of research and industry. The carbon nanotubes and graphemes are considered as the ‘dream material’ and have a structure of a cross section of a bee hive. Such structure allows the material to have strength higher than that of a diamond and still be able to bend, be transparent and also conduct electricity. However the problem up till now was that these carbon structures appeared in layers and in bunches and were therefore hard to separate to individual layers or tubes. Professor Kim Sang Wook’s research team developed the technology that can assemble the grapheme and carbon nanotubes in a three dimensional manner. The team was able to assemble the grapheme ad carbon nanotubes in an entirely new three dimensional structure. In addition, the team was able to efficiently extract single layered grapheme from cheap pencil lead. Professor Kim is scheduled to give a guest lecture in the “Materials Research Society” in San Francisco and the paper was published in ‘Advanced Functional Materials’ magazine as an ‘Invited Feature Article’.
Prof. Sang-Ouk Kim Featured on the Cover of Emerging Investigator Special Issue
KAIST Prof. Sang-Ouk Kim of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering was featured on the cover of the Emerging Investigator Special Issue published by Britain"s Royal Society of Chemistry on June 21, university authorities said on Monday (June 22). The special issue shed spotlight on 18 up-and-coming scientists who have been selected through the recommendation and rigorous screening process of the editorial and advisory boards of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The 18 scientists consist of six from the American continent, 10 from Europe, one from Japan and one from Korea. The journal introduced Prof. Kim"s paper, titled "Highly entangled carbon nanotube (CNT) scaffolds by self-organized aqueous droplets." Kim explained in the paper that the cellular CNT demonstrated high electrical conductivity and field-emission properties, which is potentially useful for various applications in electronics and energy storage devices.
KAIST Research Team Discovers Process for Rapid Growth of N-Doped CNT Arrays
A team of scientists led by Profs. Sang-Ouk Kim, Won-Jong Lee and Duck-Hyun Lee of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering has found a straightforward process for rapid growth of wall-number selected, nitrogen-doped carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays, university officials said on Monday (March 16). KAIST researchers prepared highly uniform nanopatterned iron catalyst arrays by tilted deposition through block copolymer nanotemplates. This remarkably fast growth of highly uniform N-doped CNTs, whose material properties and chemical functionalizability are reinforced by N-doping, offers a new area of a large-scale nanofabrication, potentially useful for diverse nano-devices. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are of broad technical interest in electronics, photonics, energy devices, and other applications. However, establishing a straightforward process for mass production of uniform CNTs with desired structure and properties has been a long-standing challenge. In particular, it was strongly desired to precisely control the numbers of walls and diameter of CNTs, which are decisive parameters for the physical properties of CNTs. In this respect, the preparation of monodisperse catalyst array having a narrow size distribution is generally considered an effective pathway to produce well-defined CNTs, since the number of walls and diameter of the produced CNTs are closely related to the catalyst size. The finding was featured in the March 13 edition of Nano Letters, a leading journal in the nano technology field.
Research Outputs over Carbon Nanotube by Prof. Choi Selected as Research Highlight by ACS
Research Outputs over Carbon Nanotube by Prof. Choi Selected as Research Highlight by ACS Research Outputs over Carbon Nanotube by Prof. Choi Selected as Research Highlight by ACS A research team headed by Seong-Min Choi, a professor of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering, KAIST, has developed technologies to stably disperse carbon nanotube particles in aqueous solutions and organic solvents, essential for industrial applications of carbon nanotube, and discovered the dispersion characteristics of carbon nanotube. The research outputs have been published by ‘Advanced materials’ (19, 929, 2007), the most distinguished journal in Material Science field, and introduced as Research Highlight at the May 7th edition of ‘Heart Cut’ by the American Chemical Society (ACS). A number of processes for industrial applications of carbon nanotube require the dispersion of carbon nanotube in aqueous solutions or organic solvents, and thus far, surfactant particles or DNAs have been used to disperse carbon nanotube particles. However, they have shortcomings of easy destruction of dispersion. In order to overcome such shortcomings, Prof. Choi’s team produced carbon nanotube particle-dispersed aqueous solutions by using surfactant particles and then polymerized surfactant particles absorbed to the surfaces of carbon nanotube in situ to develop carbon nanotube with hydrophile and safe surfaces. The functional carbon nanotube so obtained shows features of easy dispersion in aqueous solutions and organic solvents even after being processed, such as freeze drying, therefore, is expected to significantly contribute to the development of application technologies of carbon nanotubes. Tae-Hwan Kim and Chang-Woo Doh, both doctoral students, played key roles in the researches carried out under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) as a nuclear power R&D project, and the relevant technologies were filed for patent applications. Figures: Carbon nanotube before polymerization (left), carbon nanotube polymerized with surfactant particles (right)
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