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Cancer detection from an implantable, flexible LED

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(Sep. 19, 2011) — Can a flexible LED placed on the human heart, brain, or blood vessels diagnose or even treat various diseases? New research suggests these possibilities may soon become a reality.

A team of researchers in South Korea led by Prof. Keon Jae Lee (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, KAIST) has developed a new concept in cancer detection: a biocompatible, flexible gallium nitride (GaN) LED that can detect prostate cancer.

GaN LED, a highly efficient light emitting device, has been commercialized in LED TVs and in the lighting industry. Until now, it has been difficult to use this semiconductor material to fabricate flexible electronic systems due to its brittleness. The research team, however, has succeeded in developing a highly efficient, flexible GaN LED and in detecting cancer using a flexible LED biosensor.

Prof. Lee was involved in the first co-invention of "High Performance Flexible Single Crystal GaN" during his PhD course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). This flexible GaN LED biosensor utilized a similar protocol to transfer thin GaN LED films onto flexible substrates, followed by a biocompatible packaging process; the system's overall potential for use in implantable biomedical applications was demonstrated.

Prof. John Roger (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, UIUC) said, "Bio-integrated LEDs represent an exciting, new technology with strong potential to address important challenges in human health. This present work represents a very nice contribution to this emerging field."

The paper was published online Sept. 16, 2011 in Elsevier's journal Nano Energy.

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The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by staff) from materials provided by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of or its staff.