Bending without Losing Function

Photo: Graphic of semiconductor ribbons

In addition to a biomedical impact, flexible electronics are important for energy technology as flexible and accurate sensors for hydrogen.

These structures were developed from a concept created by Argonne scientist Yugang Sun and a team of researchers at the University of Illinois led by John A. Rogers. The concept focuses on forming 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," he added.

The team of researchers has been successful in fabricating thin ribbons of silicon and designing them to bend, stretch and compress like an accordion without losing their ability to function.

COMPAMED.de; Source: DOE/Argonne National Laboratory