Scientists at Swiss research university EPFL have developed an elastic electronic circuit. They say their new new metallic and partially liquid film stays conductive, even after it has been stretched a million times, so the technology could be used to make flexible electronic components such soft circuits, sensors, and actuators.
To create the stretchy electronics, the EPFL team came up with a new way to deposit thin, precise patterns of an alloy of gold and gallium onto a film. “Using the deposition and structuring methods that we developed, it’s possible to make tracks that are very narrow – several hundredths of a nanometer thick – and very reliable,” said Stéphanie Lacour. The researchers described their technique in an article that published in the scientific journal Advanced Materials.
By creating circuits that can be twisted or stretched, this new method could be used for artificial skin for prosthetic limbs or robots, as well as endless applications for the Internet of Things, such as smart clothing or other wearable technology.
We can come up with all sorts of uses, in forms that are complex, moving or that change over time.