Method and Apparatus for Controlled Core-Shell Electrospun PVDF-TrFE Fibers

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Xiaojing (John) Zhang, Ph.D. , Biomedical Engineering
  • Tushar Sharma , Biomedical Engineering

Background/unmet need

Balloon occlusion of a major blood vessel is commonly used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Every year, clinicians in the United States alone place more than 1.5 million pulmonary artery catheters for the purpose of hemodynamic monitoring]. Balloon occlusion of the aorta has emerged as a tool for controlling life-threatening hemorrhage from the pelvis and lower extremities.

Currently, the pressure of the inflated balloon is left to the surgeon´s experience or costly contrast based imaging techniques and is not dynamically controlled. Overinflation of the balloon results in a rare but lethal rupture of the occluded artery.

A highly compact pressure sensor would allow development of an interventional catheter that includes multiple points of pressure measurement, including inflation pressure as well as upstream and downstream blood pressure. 

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have presented a fiber in fiber structure and designed a microfabricate and piezoelectric-based pressure sensor which can be later integrated with catheter for intravascular measurements.

The invention is a core-shell fiber structure with the shell materials being made from PVDF-TrFE, a piezoelectric polymer, and the core material being made from a conductive pure or composite polymer. The piezoelectric shell generates charge under stress, tension, or flexion conditions. The charge is tapped by the electrode surrounding the polymer shell. This signal is then transmitted to downstream signal processing devices, which are capable of quantifying the charge generated and relaying back the amount of stress or deformation experienced by the fibers.

Benefits/Advantages

  • High sensitivity/electromechanical coupling efficiency
  • Bio-compatible
  • Flexible devices
  • Compact form factor compared to the existing technologies

Features

  • The invention employs nanofiber-based design rather than previously used thick-film structures, which means a higher electromechanical coefficient, high surface-area-to-volume ratio, and higher charge generation capability.
  • Compact form factor of sensors with high sensitivity is possible.
  • It is a flexible device and do not impart stiffness to interventional cardiology equipment.
  • It is cheap, easy to fabricate, and a disposable device.

Market potential/applications

Catheter manufacturers; ICD/implant device manufacturers; implantable sensor manufacturers; sensing-based companies; biosensing

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed