The impact of space environment in human physiology is one of the biggest hurdles for the success of long duration manned missions. Traditionally, the impact of space environment is assessed by comparing different physiological parameters before and after deployment. For long duration missions (i.e Moon or Mars), sample return for a ground base analysis will be impractical and in-flight, portable analytical devices will be required. Additionally, the further crew travel from earth, the less feasible it is to rely on resupply of these portable analytical devices. One solution is to develop methodologies for manufacturing analytical devices on-demand and in an in-space environment. Electrochemical biosensors can serve as point-of-care (POC) analytical devices as they can be easily fabricated onto cheap, disposable substrates by printing nanomaterial-based electronic inks. Inkjet printing is a suitable deposition technique as it provides contactless deposition of material droplets (ink) in very precise coordinates (high spatial resolution), allowing the fabrication of complex features. This offers a highly tailorable manufacturing process as the printed features are based on an easily adjustable/editable digital file. Also, this manufacture approach is amenable for an in-space environment fabrication due to its low dependence on an operator, fast manufacturing time with low waste generation, easily scalable, highly/easily tunable, ability to print a variety of electronic inks (conductors and insulators) with minimal chance of cross contamination between materials and different types of sensors can be manufactured using the same printer. Inkjet printing has the added advantage of allowing POC devices to be manufacture on a demand basis, optimizing resource use.
Jessica E. Koehne is a Senior Scientist in the Microfluidics and Instrumentation Branch at NASA Ames Research Center. She received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 2009, while in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center. She has spent the past 22 years developing carbon nanofiber, carbon nanotube and graphene-based electrochemical sensor platforms for the detection of nucleic acids, proteins, and other small molecules, with applications ranging from point-of-care for astronaut health monitoring including implantable and wearable sensors to the detection of life signatures for planetary exploration. With significant experience in device fabrication, including nanomaterial growth and integration, surface chemistry, electrochemical characterization and sensor validation, she currently leads the highly interdisciplinary Nano-Biosensor Team and is the NASA Ames lead for the On-Demand Manufacture of Electronics group. She has authored over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has given numerous scientific presentations, including 30 invited talks. Dr. Koehne received numerous honors and awards including the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and 2018 Women in Aerospace Achievement Award. She serves as the Chair of the Electrochemical Society’s Sensor Division, has served on several Ph.D. thesis committees and is an Adjunct Graduate Faculty member at Boise State University.