Piezoelectric Nanoribbons for Monitoring Cellular Deformation

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Piezoelectric Nanoribbons for Monitoring Cellular Deformation

Princeton Docket # 13-2836-1

Researchers at Princeton University have developed a new process to make high performance flexible piezoelectric devices using PbZrxTi1-xO3 (PZT) nanoribbons. These devices have outstanding biointerface features with cells and tissues. The devices can be employed to sense cellular deformationsand demonstrate  biocompatibility and high sensitivity for sensing cellular voltage-induce deformation.

Currently, Atomic force microscopes (AFM) are employed to study the voltage-induced mechanical deflections in cells and tissues at nanometer scales. However, AFM is complex, difficult to scale, and uses sharp nanotips which may be invasive and incompatible with the particular application. In this new technology, PZT nanoribbons represent an alternative platform for sensing micro or macroscale cellular deformations. Unlike using AFM, PZT can allow  healthy cellular growth while  sensing very small  cellular deformations These features make this technology  a potentially powerful, scalable biomechanical sensing platform for monitoring mechanical signals from the single cell level up to multiple cells in tissues of biological systems.

It is anticipated that this technology can be applied to provide a platform for various biomedical devices.

The Inventor

Michael McAlpine is Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and an associated faculty member with the Department of Chemistry and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM). His research has focused on nanotechnology-enabled approaches to biointerfacing materials, for fundamental investigations in the biological and energy sciences. His work has been featured in major media outlets, including Time Magazine and the New York Times. He has received a number of awards, most prominently a TR35 Young Innovator Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Award, an Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award, a DuPont Young Investigator Award, a DARPA Young Faculty Award, and an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award.

Intellectual Property status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.


Michael Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing 

(609) 258-6762  tyerech@princeton.edu

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michael Tyerech
former Princeton Sr. Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Michael McAlpine
Thanh Nguyen
life science research tools
medical device