Stretchable Electronics to go on Electroactive Polymers
Argonne scientist Yugang Sun and a team of researchers at the University of Illinois led by John A. Rogers form single-crystalline semiconductor nanoribbons in stretchable geometrical configurations with emphasis on the materials and surface chemistries used in their fabrication and the mechanics of their response to applied strains.
“Flexible electronics are typically characterized by conducting plastic-based liquids that can be printed onto thin, bendable surfaces,” Sun said. “The objective of our work was to generate a concept along with subsequent technology that would allow for electronic wires and circuits to stretch like rubber bands and accordions leading to sensor-embedded covers for aircraft and robots and even prosthetic skin for humans. We are presently developing stretchable electronics and sensors for smart surgical gloves and hemispherical electronic eye imagers.”
The team of researchers has successfully fabricated thin ribbons of silicon and designed them to bend, stretch and compress like an accordion without losing their ability to function. Clearly, such technologies could be combined with printed electronics to create many other capabilities as well, including very tightly rollable electronics.
The Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne links nanoscale research with Argonne’s existing capabilities in synchrotron X-ray studies, neutron-based materials research and electron microscopy with new capabilities in nanosynthesis, nanofabrication, nanomaterials characterization as well as theory and simulation.