Engineers have long been looking for ways to make electronic devices that bend, stretch, and expand to use as sensors for artificial muscles.
Electronics that bend and stretch
A team of engineers at Argonne National Laboratory is exploring the use of flexible nanoribbons of single-crystalline semiconductor materials. This is a distinct change from the approach taken by others, which is to use plastics-based conducting liquids printed on bendable surfaces.
So far, they have developed thin silicon ribbons that bend, stretch, and compress without losing their electrical properties.
"The objective is to generate a concept, along with the technology, that would let electronic wires and circuits stretch like rubber bands and accordions, leading to sensor-embedded skins for aircraft and robots, and even prosthetic skin for humans," says lead scientist Yugan Sun.