- Created: Wednesday, 01 August 2012
What if the testing done at hospitals could be conducted in the patient’s home, office, or car? Scientists foresee a time when medical monitoring devices are integrated into the human body to track vital signs. But electronics are too rigid. Researchers at Northwestern University developed a design that allows electronics to bend and stretch to more than 200 percent their original size. The key is a combination of a porous polymer and liquid metal. A highly porous 3D structure was created using a polymer material, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), that can stretch to three times its original size. Then they placed a liquid metal (EGaIn) inside the pores, allowing electricity to flow consistently even when the material is excessively stretched. The result is a material that is both highly stretchable and extremely conductive.