Liquid metal nanocomposites
Liquid metal (LM) has attracted tremendous interest over the past decade for its enabling combination of high electrical and thermal conductivity and low mechanical compliance and viscosity. Efforts to harness LM in electronics, robotics, and biomedical applications have largely involved methods to encapsulate the liquid so that it can support functionality without leaking or smearing. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in LM “nanocomposites” in which either liquid metal is mixed with metallic nanoparticles or nanoscale droplets of liquid metal are suspended within a soft polymer matrix. Both of these material systems represent an important step towards utilizing liquid metal for breakthrough applications. In this minireview, we present a brief overview of recent progress over the past few years in methods to synthesize LM nanomaterials and utilize them as transducers for sensing, actuation, and energy harvesting. In particular, we focus on techniques for stable synthesis of LM nanodroplets, suspension of nanodroplets within various matrix materials, and methods for incorporating metallic nanoparticles within an LM matrix.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Popular Advances