Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh announced the creation of a new material that can sense and monitor changes in the human body before problems arise. This self-aware metamaterial system has been incorporated into a coronary artery stent. The stent can sense the restenosis process inside the human body before it poses a risk to the patient’s life, and the same material can also be used for other purposes.
This type of new metamaterial was designed by researchers at the Smart Structure Monitoring and Response Testing Laboratory at the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. This type of new material can be used as a sensing medium as well as a nanogenerator, which may completely change the technology of multifunctional materials. This material is called a self-conscious metamaterial and can generate its energy through a wide range of sensing and monitoring applications. The researchers pointed out that one of the most innovative aspects of this material is that it is scalable, and the same design can work on nanoscale and ultra-large scales. It can be incorporated into devices of different sizes by extending the geometric shape of the design. Researcher Amir Alavi said that the characteristics of this material cannot be realized by natural materials alone. It requires a hybrid or composite material system, and each layer must provide its own function.
The materials created by the university can integrate advanced metamaterials and energy harvesting technologies on multiple scales, and may be used in various equipment such as medical stents, shock absorbers, and aircraft wings. Under pressure, the design of the material causes the contact between the conductive layer and the dielectric layer to be electrified, and an electric charge is generated in the process, which transmits information about the condition of the material.
The material also exhibits negative compressibility and super high resistance to deformation. The electricity generated by the integrated three-electric nanogenerator mechanism eliminates the need for additional power sources. Researchers say the system can use hundreds of watts of electricity on a large scale. Due to its light weight, low density, low cost and highly scalable design, this material can also find applications in future space exploration.