Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has developed a highly permeable and super-elastic conductor that can be used for wearable electronic devices and withstand wearing for a long period of time. This novel conductor is fabricated by coating or printing liquid metal onto an electrospun elastomeric fiber mat, which offers high permeability, stretchability, conductivity and electrical stability. It can be used in various applications including health monitoring devices, soft robotics and on-skin electronics.
Electronic devices and systems with high stretchability are essential in the fields of wearable electronics, on-skin electronics, soft robotics and bioelectronics. However, many stretchable electronics are fabricated with impermeable elastic, thick films, which can cause skin irritation and inflammation when worn for longer periods of time. Also, low permeability can limit the use of multi-layered devices and hinder the development of advanced functionalities in stretchable electronics.
To overcome these limitations, the research team led by Professor Zijian Zheng, Professor, PolyU’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC), developed the new conductor, which enables the fabrication of biocompatible and multifunctional monolithic stretchable electronics.
The team’s research, titled “Permeable superelastic liquid-metal fibre mat enables biocompatible and monolithic stretchable electronics,” was published in Nature Materials.