Navigation Links
Researchers create 'rubber-band electronics'

For people with heart conditions and other ailments that require monitoring, life can be complicated by constant hospital visits and time-consuming tests. But what if much of the testing done at hospitals could be conducted in the patient's home, office, or car?

Scientists foresee a time when medical monitoring devices are integrated seamlessly into the human body, able to track a patient's vital signs and transmit them to his doctors. But one major obstacle continues to hinder technologies like these: electronics are too rigid.

Researchers at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, working with a team of scientists from the United States and abroad, have recently developed a design that allows electronics to bend and stretch to more than 200 percent their original size, four times greater than is possible with today's technology. The key is a combination of a porous polymer and liquid metal.

A paper about the findings, "Three-dimensional Nanonetworks for Giant Stretchability in Dielectrics and Conductors," was published June 26 in the journal Nature Communications.

"With current technology, electronics are able to stretch a small amount, but many potential applications require a device to stretch like a rubber band," said Yonggang Huang, Joseph Cummings Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, who conducted the research with partners at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea), Dalian University of Technology (China), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "With that level of stretchability we could see medical devices integrated into the human body."

In the past five years, Huang and collaborators at the University of Illinois have developed electronics with about 50 percent stretchability, but this is not high enough for many applications.

One challenge facing these researchers has been overcoming a loss of conductivity in stretchable electronics. Circuits made from solid metals that are on the market today can survive a small amount of stretch, but their electrical conductivity plummets by 100 times when stretched. "This conductivity loss really defeats the point of stretchable electronics," Huang said.

Huang's team has found a way to overcome these challenges. First, they created a highly porous three-dimensional structure using a polymer material, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), that can stretch to three times its original size. Then they placed a liquid metal (EGaIn) inside the pores, allowing electricity to flow consistently even when the material is excessively stretched.

The result is a material that is both highly stretchable and extremely conductive.

"By combining a liquid metal in a porous polymer, we achieved 200 percent stretchability in a material that does not suffer from stretch," Huang said. "Once you achieve that technology, any electronic can behave like a rubber band."

The graduate student Shuodao Wang at Northwestern University is a co-author of the paper.


Contact: Pat Vaughan Tremmel
Northwestern University

Related biology technology :

1. Cedars-Sinai researchers, with stem cells and global colleagues, develop Huntingtons research tool
2. Penn researchers study of phase change materials could lead to better computer memory
3. Researchers tune the strain in graphene drumheads to create quantum dots
4. WHEATON® Introduces a New Web Community for Scientists, Researchers, and Biopharmaceutical Packagers
5. Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst to Welcome Cambridge University Researchers
6. Syracuse University researchers use nanotechnology to harness power of fireflies
7. Researchers discover hereditary enzyme deficiency
8. JCVI Researchers, as Part of NIH Human Microbiome Project Consortium, Publish Papers Detailing the Variety and Abundance of Microbes Living on and in the Human Body
9. Produce Safety Researchers Awarded by ABC Research Laboratories
10. CNIO researchers describe a new target for developing anti-angiogenic and anti-tumoral therapies
11. U of S researchers create powerful new tool for research and drug development
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Alex,s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading national childhood ... state-of-the-art bioinformatics lab, using ,big data, to advance the ... Liz Scott , co-executive director of ALSF and ... Washington, D.C. , hosted by Vice ... of pediatric cancer research and awareness. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016  Global demand for enzymes is forecast ... to $7.2 billion.  This market includes enzymes used ... biofuel production, animal feed, and other markets) and ... Food and beverages will remain the largest market ... of products containing enzymes in developing regions.  These ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ... advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, ... United States based venture capital funds which ... Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that ... of their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM ), a life ... development of innovative products and services, announced today that ... denied its petition to review decisions by ... Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") are not patent eligible ... Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories decision.  In ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Biometrics ... The report forecasts the biometrics market ... CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. The ... inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and ... a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... BETHESDA, Md. , June 22, 2016  The American ... by Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of ... Summit on May 25-27 at the Bellagio in ... based on the highest percentage of growth in each of ... number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... LOS ANGELES , June 22, 2016 ... of identity management and verification solutions, has ... cutting edge software solutions for Visitor Management, ... ® provides products that add functional ... The partnership provides corporations and venues with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):