Liquid Metal Networks for Stretchable Electronics
Currently there exist significant limitations in material solutions for flexible electronics with respect to interconnects for wearable and flexible electronics which will allow robust transitions between hard and soft interfaces. The solutions which currently exist are limited in power handling due to resistive heating and quickly lose conductivity as they undergo mechanical strain. We present here a novel approach utilizing a form of liquid metal alloys to facilitate a high conductivity material that is both highly stretchable and processable at room temperature. Such alloys are non-toxic and highly conductive, and provide excellent mechanical compliance due to their fluidic state. However, the liquid state typically requires confinement of the liquid to prefabricated channels within a compliant matrix. We demonstrate here a new material development utilizing a chemical network of liquid metal that can be applied to surfaces and does not need to be retained within a channel system, which can undergo large degrees of strain with negligible change in electrical properties. This solution could find application in flexible electronics, textile electronic, low temperature solders, and flexible RF antennas.