A research team led by PolyU has developed liquid metal microelectrodes (μLMEs) that are uniquely suitable for attaching to skin or even implanted in the human body, and which will be trending in the near-future technology. In the paper “Wafer-patterned, permeable, and stretchable liquid metal microelectrodes for implantable bioelectronics with chronic biocompatibility”, the study was featured in the latest issue of Science Advances.


Led by Prof. Zijian Zheng, Chair Professor of Soft Materials and Devices and Professor of the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, the cross-disciplinary research team includes members from PolyU’s School of Fashion and Textiles, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, Research Institute for Intelligent Wearable Systems and Research Institute for Smart Energy, as well as from City University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Centre for Cerebro-Cardiovascular Health Engineering. Multiple technical limitations to improving wearing technology have been overcome by the team and a method of producing the first-ever soft, stretchable and permeable electrodes for implantable bioelectronics was invented.


When stretched repeatedly and released under high tension, the electrical resistance of μLMEs increases slightly because of their softness, high elasticity and strong penetration. The electronic patch fabricated from μLMEs leaves only trace or even no residues on human skin after being subjected to pressure. This breakthrough ensures the possible development of wearable electronics being deployed on physiological monitoring, medical diagnosis and interactive technology.


The research is funded by the Research Grants Council Senior Research Fellow Scheme, PolyU, City University of Hong Kong, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and InnoHK.