A group of scientists at Texas A&M University from the College of Engineering have designed a mechanically healthy conductive layering that can uphold performance below heavy bending and stretching.
Bendable, stretchable, and foldable electronics are important for the development of up-and-coming techs such as artificial skin, adaptive displays, & wearable and biometric devices. This keeps a unique obstacle of balancing mechanical flexibility and electronic performance. The challenge lies in discovering a material that can endure a wide range of deformations, such as bending, stretching, and twisting, all the while upholding conductivity of electricity. Adding extra weight to the obstacle is the requirement for this conductivity to be applied onto a range of various surfaces, such as fiber, cloth, plastic, or glass.
A joint group from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering spearheaded by Dr. Jodie Lutkenhaus, holder of the William and Ruth Neely Faculty Fellowship and associate professor, has resolved this issue through the invention of an innovative surface-agnostic bendable, stretchable, and foldable conductive layering, unlocking the door for a huge range of flexible electronics.
MXenes (the 2-dimensional metal carbides) were selected as the main aim of the study as earlier research has displayed them to have conductivity similar to metals. The earlier study on MXenes has aimed mainly on the substances in the shape of sheets. Even though these sheets have the needed conductivity, they do not have property of stretching and their incorporation into various surfaces has not been displayed.
Instead of employing MXene sheets, the research group of Texas A&M generated MXene layering via the chronological adsorption of positively charged polyelectrolytes and negatively charged sheets of MXene employing an aqueous assembly procedure dubbed as LbL (layer-by-layer) assembly. The team has also productively deposited the multilayer coatings of MXene onto stretchable silicones, flexible polymer sheet, glass, nylon fiber, and silicon.