|Posted on August 10, 2015 at 1:55 PM|
Flexible and wearable electronics have significant potential for a wide range of applications from personal communications to health care areas. One exciting application could be the idea of next-generation robots made of soft materials. However, the lack of "soft" electronic components could inhibit large-scale production of suitable flexible electronic materials.
Jennifer Lewis, the Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and her research team recently demonstrated the fabrication of soft strain sensors, which shows promise for large-scale production of soft electronic components. Lewis and her team used three-dimensional printing techniques to make stretch-responsive capacitors with multi-core architectures. The team developed a cylindrical four-channel, coaxial print-head, which allows the formation of alternating conductive and dielectric layers. The conductive layer was made of a poly (ethylene glycol) glycerol gel electrolyte, and the dielectric layer was a modified version of a commercial silicon elastomer. Both of these materials are inexpensive and nontoxic, making them ideal materials for scale-up production and human-device interfaces. Details of this work were published in Advanced Materials.
Prof. Lewis's research focuses on studying the characteristics and behavior of complex fluids, applying the assembly of colloidal films and other 3D objects, and the design and fabrication of functional materials using 3D printing technology. She is a fellow of the World Academy of Ceramics, Material Research Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Physical Society. She received the 2012 MRS Medal, the highest honor given by the Material Research Society and the 2011 Langmuir Lecture Award from the American Chemical Society.
- Written by Eugene Choi, Edited by Paulette Clancy