Photolithography–enabled direct patterning of liquid metals†
One of the major challenges in the development of soft electronics is to devise scalable and automated strategies for the microfabrication of deformable and flexible electronic components and sensors. Liquid metals have demonstrated unique characteristics suitable for such applications. To date, conductive patterning using liquid metals has mainly focused on writing or injection of liquid metals into prefabricated channels, requiring multiple complicated procedures and reliance on specific inks formulae. Here a new strategy has been introduced for direct patterning of liquid metal particles onto substrates via UV photolithography. A variety of different tracks, patterns and sensors, on both rigid and flexible substrates, are demonstrated using a dispersion of eutectic alloy of gallium and indium in photoresist, to present the extent of capability of the introduced method. The method provides simple, effective, high-resolution and precision patterning of liquid metals for the emerging fields of soft electronics and sensors.