Biodegradable Polyanhydrides as Encapsulation Layers for Transient Electronics

Yeon Sik Choi, Jahyun Koo, Young Joong Lee, Geumbee Lee, Raudel Avila, Hanze Ying, Jonathan Reeder, Leonhard Hambitzer, Kyungtaek Im, Jungwon Kim, Kyung Mi Lee, Jianjun Cheng, Yonggang Huang, Seung Kyun Kang, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bioresorbable electronic systems represent an emerging class of technology of interest due to their ability to dissolve, chemically degrade, disintegrate, and/or otherwise physically disappear harmlessly in biological environments, as the basis for temporary implants that avoid the need for secondary surgical extraction procedures. Polyanhydride-based polymers can serve as hydrophobic encapsulation layers for such systems, as a subset of the broader field of transient electronics, where biodegradation eventually occurs by chain scission. Systematic experimental studies that involve immersion in phosphate-buffered saline solution at various pH values and/or temperatures demonstrate that dissolution occurs through a surface erosion mechanism, with little swelling. The mechanical properties of this polymer are well suited for use in soft, flexible devices, where integration can occur through a mold-based photopolymerization technique. Studies of the dependence of the polymer properties on monomer compositions and the rates of permeation on coating thicknesses reveal some of the underlying effects. Simple demonstrations illustrate the ability to sustain operation of underlying biodegradable electronic systems for durations between a few hours to a week during complete immersion in aqueous solutions that approximate physiological conditions. Systematic chemical, physical, and in vivo biological studies in animal models reveal no signs of toxicity or other adverse biological responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000941
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • biocompatible polymer
  • biodegradable polymer
  • bioresorbable polymer
  • encapsulation
  • hydrophobic polymer
  • transient electronics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrochemistry
  • Biomaterials


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