SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Researchers at U.S. Stanford University have reported the first success in developing core elements for skin-like electronics that can adhere seamlessly to human skin or within the body in highly desirable applications such as health monitoring, medical treatment, medical implants and biological studies, an author of the study told Xinhua Monday.
Jie Xu, a co-author of the study, which was published in the international science journal Nature Monday, said the research, led by Professor Zhenan Bao of Chemical Engineering and Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has successfully produced intrinsically stretchable transistor array and circuits.
The skin-like electronics, developed through an unprecedented scalable fabrication platform, possesses universal applicability to stretchable polymer materials, high yield and device uniformity, Bao said in an interview with Xinhua.
These intrinsically stretchable electronic elements with high device density provide charge-carrier mobility similar to that of amorphous silicon at 100 percent strain for 1,000 stretching cycles.
The technology platform and electronic elements break the major limitation in the development of skin electronics, and connect the material research and electronic research into an integrated effort towards future applications, Bao said.
She said the breakthrough can also apply for technologies that include human-machine interfaces, soft robotics and augmented reality.
Rendering such electronics soft and stretchable -- like human skin -- would make them more comfortable to wear, and, through increased contact area, would greatly enhance the fidelity of signals acquired from the skin.
The Bao-led research describes a fabrication process that enables high yield and uniformity from a variety of intrinsically stretchable electronic polymers, and demonstrate an intrinsically stretchable polymer transistor array with an unprecedented device density of 347 transistors per square centimeter.
The transistor arrays constitute intrinsically stretchable skin electronics and include an active matrix for sensory arrays, as well as analogue and digital circuit elements.
The fabrication platform that has been worked out for the first time features broad material applicability without sacrificing material performance.
The intrinsically stretchable transistor array and its fabrication platform hold the core position in the interdisciplinary area of intrinsically stretchable electronics, by bridging the material research to the electronics and application development.
The latest research will have broad and long-term impacts on multiple communities, both scientifically and technologically, Xu said.
The scalability and reliability of this fabrication platform will make it easy for this technology to be transformed from research labs to industry production, she added.