Strain-invariant conductance in an elastomeric nanocomposite mesh conductor for stretchable electronics†
An intrinsically stretchable conductor with a natural deformability is a fundamental building component for stretchable and wearable electronics. The large variations of conductance upon mechanical deformations often lead to electronic instability at the system level. Here, an elastomeric nanocomposite mesh conductor is introduced, which exhibits a series of desirable properties including strain-invariant conductance, mechanical compliance, and excellent breathability. Selective laser ablation enables the facile procedure to create the mesh from a silver nanowire/thermoplastic polyurethane nanocomposite. The hollow mesh design effectively accommodates the strains to achieve stable conductance during tensile deformations. Demonstrations of wearable heaters and electromyogram sensors show the practical suitability of the nanocomposite mesh conductor for uses in epidermal electronic devices. The structural design and engineering strategy reported in this study represent a generic approach for the deterministic and versatile manipulation of intrinsically stretchable conductors.