Wearable electronics are becoming a popular way of integrating personal healthcare with continuous, remote health monitoring, yet current devices are bulky and exhibit poor electronic performance. Wrinkled metal thin films can be utilized for their thin, flexible profiles, which conform well to the skin. Researchers at UCI have developed a novel method using specialized materials that results in wrinkled metal thin films that have enhanced mechanical and electrical performance.
Wearable electronics are becoming a popular way of integrating personal healthcare with continuous, remote health monitoring. Current wearable monitors are bulky, which can inhibit a patient’s or consumer’s lifestyles, while also delivering poor electronic performance. Wrinkled metal thin films are useful for wearable electronics as they have thin profiles and high flexibility, thus they can conform to the skin and maintain good contact for longer periods of data collection. However, wrinkled metal thin films are currently limited by the shape-metal polymers that are used, such as polysterene (capable of shrinking by only 300%).
This invention improves upon existing wrinkled metal films by using a novel fabrication method to create wrinkled metal thin films. This process utilizes unique materials to produce films with higher surface areas and a broader range of wrinkle sizes to increase sensitivity and straining thresholds of electronic devices.
Highly wrinkled metal thin films have been generated using thermally shrinking shape-memory polymers (capable of shrinking by 2000%) and lift-off layers, and transferred onto stretchable elastomeric materials using inventions disclosed previously. The resulting films are undergoing materials characterization and sensor testing.
§ Enhanced mechanical and electrical performance and robustness
§ Greater sensitivity
§ Process and materials are low-cost
§ Can be adopted into other fabrication platforms