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Adv Mater. 2017 Nov;29(43). doi: 10.1002/adma.201702625. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

Surface-Embedded Stretchable Electrodes by Direct Printing and their Uses to Fabricate Ultrathin Vibration Sensors and Circuits for 3D Structures.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 03722, Republic of Korea.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, 77 Cheongam-ro, Nam-gu, Pohang, 37673, Republic of Korea.
UNIST Central Research Facilities & School of National Science, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, 50 UNIST-gil, Banyeon-riEonyang-eup, Ulju-gun, Ulsan, 44919, Republic of Korea.


Printing is one of the easy and quick ways to make a stretchable wearable electronics. Conventional printing methods deposit conductive materials "on" or "inside" a rubber substrate. The conductors made by such printing methods cannot be used as device electrodes because of the large surface topology, poor stretchability, or weak adhesion between the substrate and the conducting material. Here, a method is presented by which conductive materials are printed in the way of being surface-embedded in the rubber substrate; hence, the conductors can be widely used as device electrodes and circuits. The printing process involves a direct printing of a metal precursor solution in a block-copolymer rubber substrate and chemical reduction of the precursor into metal nanoparticles. The electrical conductivity and sensitivity to the mechanical deformation can be controlled by adjusting the number of printing operations. The fabrication of highly sensitive vibration sensors is thus presented, which can detect weak pulses and sound waves. In addition, this work takes advantage of the viscoelasticity of the composite conductor to fabricate highly conductive stretchable circuits for complicated 3D structures. The printed electrodes are also used to fabricate a stretchable electrochemiluminescence display.


3D printing; block-copolymer composite films; printed electronics; stretchable electronics; tactile sensors


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