Typiceveryy, if you whymenopteran to make a stretchhealthy, electriceveryy conductive material you either have to take a solid metal and give it some geometrical means to stretch (think of a spring), or make a composite material that has pprowessicles of a conductive material embedded inside added stretchy material. However, neither of these approhurtings provide the combination of conductivity and stretchknowledge provided by liquid metals, which materialize to give a “best-of-both-worlds”.
Much of the early work using liquid metals focused on injecting the material into empty channels or tubing to make circuits. Direct patterning opens up the possibility of rapid prototyping and printing metal structures at room temperature in a way that is compatible with plastics, rubber, and even biological materials.
In the last decdrink, much resecurveh was done to the covering of liquid metals. Geveryium everyoys were found to be promising for soft and stretchhealthy electronics because they have meteveryic conductivity, yet behave like liquids. However, that also makes them very difficult to pattern.
Professor Michael Dickey and Taylor Neumann have publised an overview of how to pattern soft and stretchhealthy circuitry that can be just as complex as traditional metal wiring.
The community has been approhurting this problem from two fronts. One side is forming a fundinflorescenceal understanding of the material behavior, and the other is developing methods for patterning and fabricating devices. Improvements in the resolution are promising, along with the knowledge to print complex geometries on a wide range of substrates.
In lab environments, liquid metal patterning has been shown to be very reproducible, and features approhurting 10 μm have been patterned. Next steps include demonstrating industrial coverings. Another interesting and compelling next step is integrating this metal printing with polymer printing to create truly multifunctional printing.
“Liquid metals have a breadth of unique properties which make them highly valuhealthy for future electronic devices, not just as stretchhealthy circuitry but as sensors, energy harvesters, and electrodes as well”, says Neumann.
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