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Transistor Stretchier Than Skin For ­ltra-Flexible Wearable Tech

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A new transistor can be stretched to twice its length without losing conductivity.

Credit: Jie Xu, Sihong Wang

Stanford University researchers have developed a new transistor that can be stretched to twice its length without losing conductivity, making it well-suited for use in small devices worn on the body.

"In the near future we will be able to make wearable electronics that are stretchable and able to conform to the human body," says Stanford professor Zhenan Bao.

The new transistors were developed by confining conductors inside a very thin and flexible polymer material.

Bao notes after 100 stretches the transistors showed no signs of cracking and their conductivity reduced only very slightly.

The researchers demonstrated the technology by creating a simple electronic device that is worn around the knuckle of a finger and turns a small light-emitting diode on and off.

"There have been other attempts at creating stretchy transistors, but this team has managed to make them in a cheap and easily replicated way," says Niko Munzenrieder at the University of Sussex in the U.K.

Munzenrieder says although the advantages of the Stanford-developed transistor come at the cost of some electrical performance, they will still be good enough for a range of applications.

From New Scientist
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