Stretchable and Flexible Conducting Material
Researchers have developed a material that can permit the electronics to stretch and bend just like rubbers.
This research has been done by Seokwoo Jeon, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and collaborators, and has been published online in the June 26 issue of the journal Nature Communications.
“Our group has the capability to build large 3D nanostructure with perfect symmetry,” he said. “We thought to show some hands-on examples that prove the usefulness of such large 3D nanostructures. Recent interest in stretchable electronics seemed the best one.”
In the development of this material, researchers from South Korea have combined a three-dimensional polymer structure with the metallic material. The researchers initially used the same technique that is used to make computer chips, i.e. they took the polymer called a photoresist and exposed it to UV light, but here they passed the light through a mask and diffracted it thereby producing an interference pattern, which are similar to the effect when light is passed through a screen or a slit giving patterns of light and dark areas on the surface.
The researchers developed photoresist in a three-dimensional structure by exposing it to other chemicals leaving the interference pattern behind. The researchers used photoresist as a mold for the elastic substance, called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). To make this material conductive, two layers of PDMS were placed together like a sandwich with combination of the metals, gallium and indium, inside. This made the transparent material with conducting properties that can also be stretched or bent.
You can see the video of “stretching test of solid PDMS and 3D PDMS” here.
Researchers are hopeful that this invention will allow the technology to develop such electronics which are wearable and come with flexible displays as this material is not only efficient but also cheap.