Researchers have succeeded in creating a system on a single chip of less than 0.1 mm³. This small device, powered by ultrasound, can be injected into the body to measure temperature.
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After Micro Mote, the smallest computer in the world, here is the smallest injectable system integrated on a single chip. In an article published in Science Advances, researchers from the university Columbia in the United States detail their tiny processor that measures only 0.3 millimeters across, or a volume less than 0.1 mm³. It is so small that it fits inside a hypodermic needle and can only be seen under a microscope.
This very simple system is currently designed to measure the body temperature during therapy through ultrasound. This very specific use is due to the constraints of miniaturization. Many small devices use frequencies radio to communicate, but the wave length is way too big for this chip. The researchers therefore had to turn to ultrasound, the wavelength of which is much shorter for the same frequency.
An injectable probe
It is also impossible to integrate a battery in a device of this size. Researchers solved the problem using a transducer piezoelectric which allows both communications and power by ultrasound. It is combined with a temperature sensor low power consumption, thus becoming a probe to measure body temperature in real time. Everything is encapsulated in parylene to ensure biocompatibility.
The system has been successfully tested by intramuscular injection in mice. The researchers were able to make it work when implanted up to two centimeters deep, and indicate a theoretical limit of 5.7 centimeters. It would also be possible to measure other types of biological parameters, for example with chemical or pH sensors. However, we are very far from a implant GPS…
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