IEEE University of Lahore

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Stretchy Wearable Patch Allows Two-Way Communication With Robots


The devices are all structures patterned using photolithography and are made up of 50-nanometer-thick gold conductors, indium zinc oxide (IZO) semiconductor, polyimide encapsulation, and (for the transistors) a common dielectric epoxy called SU-8. The conductors’ serpentine shape allows the devices to stretch with the polymide without breaking, but it’s the semiconductor’s versatility that is the real star of the show.

IZO acts as an electron-conducting semiconductor in the transistors and a photoconductor in the UV sensors. IZO’s resistance decreases with temperature, so it could act as a variable resistor in the temperature sensor (thermistor); its resistance increases with strain, so it can form a strain sensor. And in yet another structural arrangement of these materials, certain voltages will form or break conductive filaments in the IZO, yielding nonvolatile resistive memory (RRAM). The IZO maintains all this functionality even after being deposited as a colloid and drying to form a gel, a so-called sol-gel process.

“It’s quite astonishing,” says Yu. “Traditionally, to achieve multiple functions you might need the heterogeneous integration of materials, or multiple chips together. But now using one material you can do all this.”

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