Ultraconformable Temporary Tattoo Electrodes for Electrophysiology

Laura M. Ferrari, Sudha Sudha, Sergio Tarantino, Roberto Esposti, Francesco Bolzoni, Paolo Cavallari, Christian Cipriani, Virgilio Mattoli*, Francesco Greco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrically interfacing the skin for monitoring personal health condition is the basis of skin-contact electrophysiology. In the clinical practice the use of stiff and bulky pregelled or dry electrodes, in contrast to the soft body tissues, imposes severe restrictions to user comfort and mobility while limiting clinical applications. Here, in this work dry, unperceivable temporary tattoo electrodes are presented. Customized single or multielectrode arrays are readily fabricated by inkjet printing of conducting polymer onto commercial decal transfer paper, which allows for easy transfer on the user's skin. Conformal adhesion to the skin is provided thanks to their ultralow thickness (<1 μm). Tattoo electrode-skin contact impedance is characterized on short- (1 h) and long-term (48 h) and compared with standard pregelled and dry electrodes. The viability in electrophysiology is validated by surface electromyography and electrocardiography recordings on various locations on limbs and face. A novel concept of tattoo as perforable skin-contact electrode, through which hairs can grow, is demonstrated, thus permitting to envision very long-term recordings on areas with high hair density. The proposed materials and patterning strategy make this technology amenable for large-scale production of low-cost sensing devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1700771
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2018


  • Conformable materials
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epidermal devices
  • Inkjet printing
  • Temporary tattoos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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