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Issue 16, 2019
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Soft elastomeric composite materials with skin-inspired mechanical properties for stretchable electronic circuits

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Abstract

The stretchable version of electronic circuits harnesses commercial chip scale components to achieve complex functionality and mechanical deformability, which represents an emerging technology to expand the application of conventional electronics on rigid wafers. The bottleneck lies in the lack of a robust approach for the collective integration of off-the-shelf components into a reliable system. In this study, an elastomeric composite material with skin-like mechanical responses and spatially heterogeneous rigidity is reported as an attractive platform for stretchable circuit systems. The approach utilizes a high modulus microstructure embedded in the matrix of a soft elastomer to achieve programmable mechanical properties, thereby offering selective strain isolation for fragile components and overall protection against excessive loads. A low cost procedure involving laser ablation and blade coating is established to create the composite material matching with the circuit design. In addition, ultrasonic atomization of liquid metal into microparticles allows flexible preparations of deformable conductors in the forms of interconnects and contacts. An LED matrix is demonstrated as a prototype circuit system with excellent durability to withstand repetitive stretching and external impacts. Stretchable circuit systems based on soft elastomeric composite materials may find potential uses in health monitoring, mechatronic prosthetics, and soft robotics.

Graphical abstract: Soft elastomeric composite materials with skin-inspired mechanical properties for stretchable electronic circuits

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
07 Jun 2019
Accepted
15 Jul 2019
First published
16 Jul 2019

Lab Chip, 2019,19, 2709-2717
Article type
Paper

Soft elastomeric composite materials with skin-inspired mechanical properties for stretchable electronic circuits

K. Zhang, S. Kong, Y. Li, M. Lu and D. Kong, Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 2709
DOI: 10.1039/C9LC00544G

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