A new world of flexible, bendable, even stretchable electronics is emerging from research labs to address a wide range of potentially game-changing uses. The common, rigid printed circuit board is slowly being replaced by a thin ribbon of resilient, high-performance electronics.
Over the last few years, one team of chemists and materials scientists has begun exploring military applications in harsh environments for aircraft, explosive devices and even combatants themselves.
Researchers will provide an update on the latest technologies, as well as future research plans, at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS is the world’s largest scientific society. The meeting takes place here through Thursday.
“Basically, we are using a hybrid technology that mixes traditional electronics with flexible, high-performance electronics and new 3-D printing technologies,” says Benjamin J. Leever, Ph.D., who is at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “In some cases, we incorporate ‘inks,’ which are based on metals, polymers and organic materials, to tie the system together electronically. With our technology, we can take a razor-thin silicon integrated circuit, a few hundred nanometers thick, and place it on a flexible, bendable or even foldable, plastic-like substrate material,” he says.
To allow electronics to be bendable or stretchable or even change their configuration after fabrication, the Wright-Patterson team has turned to liquid gallium alloys as an electrical interconnect material, Leever says. “While these liquid alloys typically oxidize within minutes and become essentially useless,” he says, “the team has been able to dramatically reduce the effects of the oxidation through the use of ionic species confined to the walls of microvascular channels within the flexible substrates.”
The result is thin, foldable material that allows the circuitry to fit into extremely tight spaces and even to be integrated into complex curved surfaces, such as an airplane’s wing, or even a person’s skin.
In aircraft applications, Leever explains, the hybrid flexible system can be used to monitor stresses and strains and report this information through miniature embedded antennas to ground crews or a pilot.
The researchers also are developing the same approach to monitor pilots’ health. This involves a biosensor system that can measure heartbeat, hydration levels, sweat, temperature and other vital signs through miniature circuitry. The system would be embedded on a flexible, wearable patch and would include an antenna to transmit these biometric signals to the pilot or a ground team. The patch will “breathe,” bend and stretch, and will provide real-time measurements of metrics that indicate fatigue or potential cognitive problems, Leever notes.
Another military application the Air Force is pursuing is use of a flexible hybrid system in “bunker buster” bombs, which detonate after penetrating deep in the earth. Because of the system’s toughness, Leever says, initial testing suggests that the flexible circuitry would remain viable and could detonate the weapon after surviving the initial impact of ground contact after being dropped from aircraft.
In the civilian world, Leever foresees use of flexible systems to monitor the conditions of bridges and other types of infrastructure in real time. He also points to medical applications, such as physical feedback for athletes as they exercise and real-time hospital monitoring for caregivers concerned about changes in a patient’s vital signs. This type of monitoring dispenses with the need for the bulky electrodes and wiring that normally are associated with close medical surveillance.
“Overall, the military has the advantage of being able to move ahead with potentially higher risk research,” he explains. “Commercial investors want a clear demonstration before making an investment. The military can pursue possibly transformational applications at earlier stages if we see a promising approach to realize and advance a technology’s revolutionary potential. When we are successful, the commercial sector directly benefits.”
Read more: A thin ribbon of flexible electronics can monitor health, infrastructure
The Latest on: Flexible electronics
[google_news title=”” keyword=”flexible electronics” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Flexible electronics
- 2023-2029 Global Flexible Substrates Market Business Explorationon March 21, 2023 at 12:03 am
It is used in flexible electronics, which is a technology of assembling electronic circuits, where electronic devices are mounted on these flexible substrates. The global Keyword market size was ...
- Aims & Scopeon March 17, 2023 at 4:46 am
npj Flexible Electronics publishes high-quality papers related to flexible electronic systems, including plastic electronics and emerging materials, new device design and fabrication technologies ...
- Flexible Glass For Flexible Electronics Market Research 2023 : Growth, Trends, Outlook and Future Scope Analysis 2029on March 16, 2023 at 4:48 am
Mar 16, 2023 (The Expresswire) -- "Flexible Glass For Flexible Electronics Market" Size, Share and Trends Analysis Report 2023 - By Applications (Displays Market, OLED Market, Smart Phones ...
- Flexible Electronics Global Market Report 2023on March 14, 2023 at 8:58 am
Major players in the flexible electronics market are Blue Spark Technologies, Cymbet Corporation, E ink Holdings Inc., Imprint Energy Inc., LG Electronics, Solar Frontier, and Samsung electronics co.
- Researchers fabricate novel flexible supercapacitors on paperon March 6, 2023 at 7:30 am
Wearable devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and virtual reality headsets are becoming commonplace. They are powered by flexible electronics that consist of electrodes with plastic or ...
- Flexible Electronics Market Demand Analysis & Opportunity Outlook 2024on February 28, 2023 at 1:15 am
delivers detailed overview of the flexible electronics market in terms of market segmentation by component type, by application type and by region. However, lack of awareness, high cost and ...
- Progress In Flexible Electronicson February 15, 2023 at 3:59 pm
Flexible electronics have been proposed for a wide variety of applications, from pulse and activity monitoring to electrolyte balance measurements. That makes generalizations difficult, but most ...
- $45.8+ Billion Worldwide Flexible Electronics Industry to 2031 - Rising Demand for Consumer Electronic Devices is Driving Growthon February 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Dublin, Jan. 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Flexible Electronics Global Market Report 2022" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. This report provides strategists ...
via Bing News