Material Bends, Stretches and Conducts Electricity?

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-08-08 Print this article Print

Scientists in Japan have developed a bendable, rubbery material that can conduct electrical currents which could have applications in to devices that can expand and contract, and bend.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - In the latest twist on electronics, Japanese scientists said on Thursday they have developed a rubbery material that conducts electricity, a finding that could be used to make devices that bend and stretch.

The material, described by Tsuyoshi Sekitani of the University of Tokyo in the journal Science, could be used on curved surfaces or even in moving parts, they said.

Sekitani's team developed their material using carbon nanotubes, a long stretch of carbon molecules that can conduct electricity.

They mixed these into rubbery polymer to form the basic material. Next, they attached a grid of tiny transistors to the material and then put it to the test.

They stretched the sheet of material to nearly double its original size and it snapped back into place, without disrupting the transistors or ruining the material's conductive properties.

The elastic conductor would allow electronic circuits to be mounted in places that would have been impossible up to now, including "arbitrary curved surfaces and movable parts, such as the joints of a robot's arm," Sekitani and colleagues wrote.

Earlier this week, a U.S. team reported developing an elastic mesh material that allowed them to use standard electronics materials to build an electronic eye camera based on the shape and layout of the human eye.

That device could be the basis for the development of an artificial eye implant.

John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who wrote about the eye camera in the journal Nature, said the development of materials that can be shaped and molded to curved surfaces will allow for a whole new class of electronics devices that can be used to better interact with the human body, such as brain monitoring devices.

(Editing by Maggie Fox)


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.

By submitting your information, you agree that baselinemag.com may send you Baselinemag offers via email, phone and text message, as well as email offers about other products and services that Baselinemag believes may be of interest to you. Baselinemag will process your information in accordance with the Quinstreet Privacy Policy.

Click for a full list of Newsletterssubmit