Researchers have created stretchable, rubbery semiconductors including rubbery integrated electronics, logic circuits, and arrayed sensory skins fully based on rubber materials. The semiconductors have instilled mechanical stretchability, much like a rubber band.
The rubbery integrated electronics from a rubbery semiconductor possess a high effective mobility obtained by introducing metallic carbon nanotubes into a rubbery semiconductor with organic semiconductor nanofibrils percolated. The enhancement in carrier mobility is enabled by providing fast paths and, therefore, a shortened carrier transport distance.
Carrier mobility, or the speed at which electrons can move through a material, is critical for an electronic device to work successfully, because it governs the ability of the semiconductor transistors to amplify the current. Previous stretchable semiconductors have been hampered by low carrier mobility, along with complex fabrication requirements. For this work, researchers added minute amounts of metallic carbon nanotubes to the rubbery semiconductor of P3HT (polydi-methylsiloxane composite), leading to improved carrier mobility by providing a “highway” to speed up the carrier transport across the semiconductor.
Future work will involve further raising the carrier mobility and building more complex hierarchy and high-level integrated digital circuits to meet the requirements for integrated circuits, biomedical, and other applications.