Researchers have developed a highly manufacturable deep reactive ion etching based process involving a hybrid soft/hard mask process technology that shows high aspect ratio complex geometry Lego-like silicon electronics formation enabling free-form (physically flexible, stretchable, and reconfigurable) electronic systems. This hybrid mask enables deep sub-millimeter etching while preserving existing devices and structures and is advantageous for many applications, including lego like concept for pre-packaging modules/system integration.
Great effort has been applied on the controllable synthesis of ideal carbon nanotubes (CNTs). However, it's almost impossible to directly synthesize pure semiconducting CNTs by an in situ catalytic reaction alone, without any post-separation, when only small amounts of metallic CNTs may cause catastrophic device shorting failures. That is why the synthesis of CNTs with consistent chirality and high density is facing a bottleneck. A group of researchers in China have creatively proposed a novel method by entangling an individual decimeter-long CNT with a diameter of 2 nm into a large tangle with high density and consistent chirality.
A skin-like, wearable system combines colorimetric and electronic function for precise dosimetry in the UV-A and UV-B regions of the spectrum. This platform is suitable for determination of instantaneous UV exposure levels and skin temperature. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells. Skin cancers start when this damage affects the DNA of genes that control skin cell growth. Creating awareness in UV exposure is widely believed to be an important aspect in improving skin health.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) being highly electrically conductive along the tube axis, have gained great research interests in recent years for connecting two conducting electrodes at the nanoscale - where the CNTs can be integrated into a micro- or nanoelectronic system. Therefore, the orientational control of CNTs has drawn a great deal of research interest in nanotechnology. Researchers now have developed a technique to bridge two electrical conductors by assembling CNTs guided by liquid crystals.
Researchers have created a new method to print high-performance electronics by combining the extremely mature CMOS fabrication processes and recently developed additive manufacturing techniques. For the first time, an affordable and reliable manufacturing process for the integration and packaging of fully flexible high-performance electronics has been developed for future Internet-of-Everything (IoE) applications. Such decal electronic systems could be used like RFID tags are today but with much more functionality and performance.
Researchers have developed a highly manufacturable integration strategy for making 3D flexible sensor arrays and connecting them to control electronics based on the widely popular phrase, 'Two sides of the same coin'. Sensor arrays and control elements for flexible electronics devices are usually placed on the same plane, unnecessary requiring additional area, and causing problems of heat dissipation. These challenges motivated researchers to come up with an area-efficient solution for the problem of connecting sensors and electronics together in such a way that electronics can be kept away from the sensed surface. This is the first time ever the concept of double sided flexible 3D electronics has been introduced in the flexible and wearable electronics industry.
Using multilayer graphene as an electrically reconfigurable optical medium, researchers have demonstrated an optoelectronic framework compatible with conventional printing paper. The device consist of two multilayer graphene layers transfer-printed on both sides of the paper. In this configuration, multilayer graphene simultaneously operates as the electrically reconfigurable optical medium and electrically conductive electrodes. In addition, the paper substrate yields a flexible and foldable mechanical support for the graphene layers and it holds the electrolyte in the network of hydrophilic cellulose fibers.
Not all electrocapacitive materials are intrinsically stretchable and various modified structures and electron/ion-inactive stretchable substrates have been utilized to introduce stretchability into conventionally rigid supercapacitors. Now, researchers have developed a multifunctional polyelectrolyte, achieving an electrochemically complete self-healability and 600% stretchability of supercapacitors. This work can be applied to other energy conversion and storage devices such as batteries, fuel cells, etc.