Nav: Home

KIST-Stanford team develops new material for wearable devices able to restore conductivity

July 24, 2019

The research team of researcher Hyunseon Seo and senior researcher Dr. Donghee Son of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology's (KIST, president: Byung-gwon Lee) Biomedical Research Institute and postdoctoral candidate Dr. Jiheong Kang and Professor Zhenan Bao of Stanford University (chemical engineering) announced a new material, developed via joint convergence research, that simultaneously possesses high stretchability, high electrical conductivity, and self-healability even after being subjected to severe mechanical strain.

Currently, interest in the development of wearable electronic devices is growing rapidly. Prior to this study, Dr. Donghee Son, Dr. Jiheong Kang, and Prof. Zhenan Bao developed a polymer material that is highly elastic, can self-heal without the help of external stimuli even when exposed to water or sweat, and has a mechanical strength similar to that of human skin, making it comfortable to wear for long periods of time. (Advanced Materials 30, 1706846, 2018)

In its most recent study, the KIST-Stanford research team developed a new material that can be utilized as an interconnect,* because it has the same properties as existing wearable materials as well as high levels of electrical conductivity and stretchability, which allow the stable transmission of electricity and data from the human body to electronic devices.

*Interconnect: a material that serves as a channel for the stable and accurate transmission of biosignals from the human body to an electronic device

The KIST-Stanford team dispersed silver micro-/nano-particles throughout the highly stretchable and self-healable polymer material to achieve a new design for a nanocomposite material with high stretchability and high electrical conductivity.

During tests, the material developed by the KIST team was utilized as an interconnect and attached to the human body to allow for the measurement of biometric signals in real time. The signals were then transmitted to a robotic arm, which successfully and accurately imitated (in real time) the movements of a human arm.

Contrary to typical materials, the electrical conductivity (and thus performance) of which decreases when the shape of the materials is changed by an applied tensile strain, the new material developed by the KIST research team shows a dramatic increase in conductivity under a tensile strain of 3,500 percent. In fact, electrical conductivity rose over 60-fold, achieving the highest conductivity level reported worldwide so far. Even if the material is damaged or completely cut through, it is able to self-heal, a property that is already gaining attention from academia.

The KIST team investigated phenomena that have not yet been studied in existing conductive materials. The phenomenon exhibited in the new material developed by the team is electrical "self-boosting," which refers to the self-improvement of electrical conductivity through the rearrangement and self-alignment of a material's micro-/nano-particles when the material is stretched. The team also discovered the mechanism of such dynamic behavior of micro-/nano-particles by using SEM and microcomputed tomography (μ-CT) analyses.

Seo said, "Our material is able to function normally even after being subjected to extreme external forces that cause physical damages, and we believe that it will be actively utilized in the development and commercialization of next-generation wearable electronic devices," while Son stated, "Because the outcome of this study is essentially the foundational technology necessary for the development of materials that can be used in major areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as medical engineering, electrical engineering, and robotics, we expect that it will be applicable to diverse fields."
-end-
This study was conducted with support from the Ministry of Science and Technology (minister: Young-min Yoo) as a project of KIST and the National Research Foundation of Korea. The outcomes of this study, which was conducted in cooperation with Stanford University, were published in the most recent issue of ACS Nano (IF: 13.709, top 4.035% in JCR sector).

National Research Council of Science & Technology

Related Conductivity Articles:

Solving the thermoelectric 'trade-off' conundrum with metallic carbon nanotubes
Scientists from Tokyo Metropolitan University have used aligned 'metallic' carbon nanotubes to create a device which converts heat to electrical energy (a thermoelectric device) with a higher power output than pure semiconducting carbon nanotubes in random networks.
Sponge-like 2D material with interesting electrical conductivity and magnetic properties
Researchers synthesize a new 2D Metal Organic Framework with an ever-growing list of possible applications.
Graphene substrate improves the conductivity of carbon nanotube network
Scientists at Aalto University, Finland, and the University of Vienna, Austria, have combined graphene and single-walled carbon nanotubes into a transparent hybrid material with conductivity higher than either component exhibits separately.
Scientists' design discovery doubles conductivity of indium oxide transparent coatings
esearchers at the University of Liverpool, University College London (UCL), NSG Group (Pilkington) and Diamond Light Source have made an important design discovery that could dramatically improve the performance of a key material used to coat touch screens and other devices.
Conductivity at the edges of graphene bilayers
For nanoribbons of bilayer graphene, whose edge atoms are arranged in zigzag patterns, the bands of electron energies which are allowed and forbidden are significantly different to those found in monolayer graphene.
New study reveals carbon nanotubes measurement possible for the first time
Swansea University scientists report an entirely new approach to manipulation of carbon nanotubes that allows physical measurements to be made on carbon nanotubes that have previously only been possible by theoretical computation.
KIST-Stanford team develops new material for wearable devices able to restore conductivity
Development of nanocomposite material simultaneously possessing high stretchability, high conductivity, and self-healability.
Modelling reveals new insight into the electrical conductivity of ionic liquids
New research shows the key role of thermal fluctuations in sustaining the 'relay race' of charges needed to maintain electrical current in room temperature ionic liquids.
Organic electronics: a new semiconductor in the carbon-nitride family
Teams from Humboldt-Universität and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have explored a new material in the carbon-nitride family.
High thermal conductivity of new material will create energy efficient devices
Researchers at the University of Bristol have successfully demonstrated the high thermal conductivity of a new material, paving the way for safer and more efficient electronic devices -- including mobile phones, radars and even electric cars.
More Conductivity News and Conductivity Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab