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Controlled buckling of semiconductor nanoribbons for stretchable electronics


Control over the composition, shape, spatial location and/or geometrical configuration of semiconductor nanostructures is important for nearly all applications of these materials. Here we report a mechanical strategy for creating certain classes of three-dimensional shapes in nanoribbons that would be difficult to generate in other ways. This approach involves the combined use of lithographically patterned surface chemistry to provide spatial control over adhesion sites, and elastic deformations of a supporting substrate to induce well-controlled local displacements. We show that precisely engineered buckling geometries can be created in nanoribbons of GaAs and Si in this manner and that these configurations can be described quantitatively with analytical models of the mechanics. As one application example, we show that some of these structures provide a route to electronics (and optoelectronics) with extremely high levels of stretchability (up to 100%), compressibility (up to 25%) and bendability (with curvature radius down to 5 mm).

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Figure 1: Processing steps for engineering 3D buckled shapes in semiconductor nanoribbons.
Figure 2: Optical and SEM micrographs of the side-view profiles of buckled GaAs and Si ribbons.
Figure 3: Stretching and compressing of buckled GaAs ribbons embedded in PDMS.
Figure 4: Bending of buckled ribbons on surfaces and in matrixes of PDMS.
Figure 5: Characterization of stretchable metal–semiconductor–metal photodetectors (MSM PDs).


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This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under grant DEFG02-91-ER45439. The fabrication and measurements were carried out using the facilities located in the Microfabrication Laboratory of Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, which are supported by the Department of Energy. W.M. Choi would like to acknowledge the financial support from Korea Research Foundation grant KRF-2005-214-D00261, funded by the Korean Government (MOEHRD). Argonne National Laboratory's work (partially for Y. Sun) was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under contract DE-AC-02-06CH11357.

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Authors and Affiliations



Y.S. and J.A.R. conceived and designed the experiments, Y.S. and W.M.C. performed the experiments, and H.J. and Y.Y.H. modelled the mechanical behaviour of the samples. Y.S. and J.A.R. co-wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yugang Sun or John A. Rogers.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Sun, Y., Choi, W., Jiang, H. et al. Controlled buckling of semiconductor nanoribbons for stretchable electronics. Nature Nanotech 1, 201–207 (2006).

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