ERJ staff report (BC)
Lausanne, Switzerland – Using foam elastomer substrates, scientists at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) were able to make a flexible electronic circuit board. This development could lead to the creation of deformable and stretchable circuits.
Stéphanie Lacour, Professor of the Bertarelli Foundation Chair at EPFL, aims to make circuit boards flexible enough to be integrated into artificial skin. Connected to the nervous system, these circuits could become sensory organs, allowing people to experience pressure and pain.
Lacour’s team showed that a metallic film mounted on a polyurethane foam substrate can be stretched reversibly without disrupting its electrical conductivity properties.
On a uniform elastomeric substrate, traction tests revealed the creation of micro-fissures in the metallic layer, which would eventually result in the rupture of the conducting network. But with foam substrates, these cracks only occurred above the air bubbles.
Lacour said: “Our measurements showed that we could achieve a level of elasticity over 100% without disrupting the network. These metallic pathways built upon foam could thus be used as electrodes, sensors or interconnections for the electronic skin that we’re developing.”
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