Transparent, elastic conductors are essential components of electronic and optoelectronic devices that facilitate human interaction and biofeedback, such as interactive electronics1, implantable medical devices2 and robotic systems with human-like sensing capabilities3. The availability of conducting thin films with these properties could lead to the development of skin-like sensors4 that stretch reversibly, sense pressure (not just touch), bend into hairpin turns, integrate with collapsible, stretchable and mechanically robust displays5 and solar cells6, and also wrap around non-planar and biological7,8,9 surfaces such as skin10 and organs11, without wrinkling. We report transparent, conducting spray-deposited films of single-walled carbon nanotubes that can be rendered stretchable by applying strain along each axis, and then releasing this strain. This process produces spring-like structures in the nanotubes that accommodate strains of up to 150% and demonstrate conductivities as high as 2,200 S cm−1 in the stretched state. We also use the nanotube films as electrodes in arrays of transparent, stretchable capacitors, which behave as pressure and strain sensors.
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This work was supported by a US Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship (to D.J.L.) and the Stanford Global Climate and Energy Program. B.C-K.T. was supported by the Singapore National Science Scholarship from the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR). The authors thank V. Ballarotto for helpful discussions and J.A. Bolander for writing code for the apparatus used for electromechanical measurements.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Lipomi, D., Vosgueritchian, M., Tee, B. et al. Skin-like pressure and strain sensors based on transparent elastic films of carbon nanotubes. Nature Nanotech 6, 788–792 (2011) doi:10.1038/nnano.2011.184
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