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Group Demonstrates Self-Healing For Electronics


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bridging a crack in a gold line

A conductive charge transfer salt is formed upon release of solutions of its precursors from microcapsule cores, bridging a crack in a gold line and restoring conductivity.

Credit: Alex Jerez / Beckman Institute Imaging Technology Group

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have applied the concept of self-healing materials to small-scale electronics.

A microcapsule system has been designed to restore conductivity in damaged electronic devices. Using a twin-microcapsule method, the system's repairing agent does not become conductive until there is damage to the electronics and the conductivity agents are needed. The twin microcapsules have microcapsule shells that rupture when there is damage, and the component precursor materials are released as a liquid from the core, which forms a solid-transfer salt that restores conductivity to the device.

"We've been able to encapsulate this conductive salt on its own but we wanted to show that we could encapsulate something that was non-conductive," says UIUC researcher Susan Odom.

"This system has the potential to serve as a useful model for a two-part electronic self-healing system using liquid precursors by comparing the degree of restoration of conductivity of one- and two-part microcapsule systems," the researchers write.

From University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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