Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) researchers say they have developed a new material that enables electronics to be stretched up to four times their original length in all directions.
The material withstands maximal stretching up to 1 million times without cracking or losing its conductivity properties.
The material consists of a layer of gold and gallium, the latter of which has an unusually low melting point, which means it remains liquid at room temperatures. The liquid metal is patterned onto a thin polymer film, where it functions as the conductive tracks of a normal circuit board. The gold is used to prevent the gallium from beading up and rolling away like water droplets when it comes into contact with the polymer.
The EPFL researchers say they were able to use these properties to fabricate conductive tracks on the order of nanometers in width.
They say this research could be applied to a range of fields, including artificial skins on prosthetic limbs or robots, and in electronic circuits that can be twisted and stretched into new shapes.
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