Conductive polymer combined silk fiber bundle for bioelectrical signal recording

Shingo Tsukada, Hiroshi Nakashima, Keiichi Torimitsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Electrode materials for recording biomedical signals, such as electrocardiography (ECG), electroencephalography (EEG) and evoked potentials data, are expected to be soft, hydrophilic and electroconductive to minimize the stress imposed on living tissue, especially during long-term monitoring. We have developed and characterized string-shaped electrodes made from conductive polymer with silk fiber bundles (thread), which offer a new biocompatible stress free interface with living tissue in both wet and dry conditions. An electroconductive polyelectrolyte, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) -poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT-PSS) was electrochemically combined with silk thread made from natural Bombyx mori. The polymer composite 280 μm thread exhibited a conductivity of 0.00117 S/cm (which corresponds to a DC resistance of 2.62 Mohm/cm). The addition of glycerol to the PEDOT-PSS silk thread improved the conductivity to 0.102 S/cm (20.6 kohm/cm). The wettability of PEDOT-PSS was controlled with glycerol, which improved its durability in water and washing cycles. The glycerol treated PEDOT-PSS silk thread showed a tensile strength of 1000 cN in both wet and dry states. Without using any electrolytes, pastes or solutions, the thread directly collects electrical signals from living tissue and transmits them through metal cables. ECG, EEG, and sensory evoked potential (SEP) signals were recorded from experimental animals by using this thread placed on the skin. PEDOT-PSS silk glycerol composite thread offers a new class of biocompatible electrodes in the field of biomedical and health promotion that does not induce stress in the subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere33689
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr 6


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