Biodegradable and programmable, organic thin films show promise

If it’s biodegradable, then odds are it can be used for drug delivery. Why? Carnegie Mellon University’s Christopher Bettinger, an assistant professor of materials science and biomedical engineering, says it best.

“We are working with biodegradable polymers because they are non-toxic and capable of a controlled rate of degradation,” he says in a release announcing his work. "In the case of drug delivery, we find that the polymer slowly degrades into smaller fragments, releasing a natural product in a controlled environment."

What Bettinger is doing that seems counterintuitive. He is investigating use of organic thin film transistor technology to integrate electronic devices into a very wet environment like the human body.

"We found that by combining small-molecular semiconductors and biodegradable polymers it allows for potential electronic functionality in biodegradable medical implants that has previously been unattainable," Bettinger says in the release.

- see the CMU release