How many of us have lost our phones because we were sloppy and it slipped from our hands?
We are guessing a lot of us have done that and regretted it while holding their broken smart phones. Wouldn’t it be great if your falling device could somehow be miraculously saved? Say thanks to research which is being carried out at RMIT University in Australia.
So what is this research really about? These researchers have finally made the impossible quite possible; say hello to the bendable electronics! Soon we’ll have phones which are unbreakable, tablets which can be rolled and clothing which is functional. In simpler words; RMIT’s Functional Materials and Micro systems research group has come up with a new technique to transfer the electronics onto a flexible surface. Their findings were published in a leading materials science journal for the Asia-Pacific; Asia Materials.
Okay folks, let put our geeky caps on; oxide materials, nano-layers of them, are the controlling entity when it comes to sensing, insulating or generating energy by micro and nano-electric devices. These layers are usually way thinner than 1/100th of a human hair. These oxide materials due to their brittleness and processing temperatures of more than 300 degree Celsius have until now rendered them unable to be incorporated into flexible devices.
Lead author, PhD researcher Philipp Gutruf, said the new process developed at RMIT could unleash the potential of fully functional flexible electronics, while providing a new way for the materials to mesh together.
Dr. Philipp Gutruf, Lead author, said; ‘We have discovered a micro-tectonic effect, where micro-scale plates of oxide materials slide over each other, like geological plates, to relieve stress and retain electrical conductivity. The novel method we have developed overcomes the challenges of incorporating oxide materials in bendable electronic devices, paving the way for bendable consumer electronics and other exciting applications.’ He is sure that this new research will prove to be the foundation for the meshing together of materials.
Dr Madhu Bhaskaran, supervisor and co-leader of the research group, while telling that this new process makes use of transparent conductive indium tin oxide and silicone which is biocompatible said; ‘ The ability to combine any functional oxide with this biocompatible material creates the potential for biomedical devices to monitor or stimulate nerve cells and organs. This is in addition to the immediate potential for consumer electronics applications in flexible displays, solar cells, and energy harvesters.’