Nested metamaterials for wireless strain sensing
We designed, fabricated, and characterized metamaterial-based RF-microelectromechanical system (RF-MEMS) strain sensors that incorporate multiple split ring resonators (SRRs) in a compact nested architecture to measure strain telemetrically. We also showed biocompatibility of these strain sensors in an animal model. With these devices, our bioimplantable wireless metamaterial sensors are intended, to enable clinicians, to quantitatively evaluate the progression of long-bone fracture healing by monitoring the strain on the implantable fracture fixation hardware in real time. In operation, the transmission spectrum of the metamaterial sensor attached to the implantable fixture is changed when an external load is applied to the fixture, and from this change, the strain is recorded remotely. By employing telemetric characterizations, we reduced the operating frequency and enhanced the sensitivity of our novel nested SRR architecture compared to the conventional SRR structure. The nested SRR structure exhibited a higher sensitivity of 1.09 kHz/kgf operating at lower frequency compared to the classical SRR that demonstrated a sensitivity of 0.72 kHz/kgf. Using soft tissue medium, we achieved the best sensitivity level of 4.00 kHz/kgf with our nested SRR sensor. Ultimately, the laboratory characterization and in vivo biocompatibility studies support further development and characterization of a fracture healing system based on implantable nested SRR.