Electronics that Flex and Stretch like Skin

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Fri Sep 21 14:16:43 CDT 2012

  Electronics that Flex and Stretch like Skin

Publication date: 21 September 2012

Electronics that Flex and Stretch like Skin <javascript:ImagePopup( 
'http://www.elektor.com/Uploads/2012/9/imec-stretch.jpg', 'Electronics 
that Flex and Stretch like Skin' )>

Research laboratory Imec has announced that it has integrated an 
ultra-thin, flexible chip with bendable and stretchable interconnects 
into a package that adapts dynamically to curving and bending surfaces. 
The resulting circuitry can be embedded in medical and lifestyle 
applications where user comfort and unobtrusiveness is key, such as 
wearable health monitors or smart clothing.

  For the demonstration, the researchers thinned a commercially 
available microcontroller down to 30µm, preserving the electrical 
performance and functionality. This die was then embedded in a slim 
polyimide package (40-50µm thick). Next, this ultrathin chip was 
integrated with stretchable electrical wiring. These were realized by 
patterning polyimide-supported meandering horseshoe-shaped wires, a 
technology developed and optimized at the lab. Last, the package is 
embedded in an elastomeric substrate, e.g. polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). 
In this substrate, the conductors behave as two dimensional springs, 
enabling greater flexibility while preserving conductivity.

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