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An integrated self-healable electronic skin system fabricated via dynamic reconstruction of a nanostructured conducting network

Abstract

Electronic skin devices capable of monitoring physiological signals and displaying feedback information through closed-loop communication between the user and electronics are being considered for next-generation wearables and the ‘Internet of Things’. Such devices need to be ultrathin to achieve seamless and conformal contact with the human body, to accommodate strains from repeated movement and to be comfortable to wear. Recently, self-healing chemistry has driven important advances in deformable and reconfigurable electronics, particularly with self-healable electrodes as the key enabler. Unlike polymer substrates with self-healable dynamic nature, the disrupted conducting network is unable to recover its stretchability after damage. Here, we report the observation of self-reconstruction of conducting nanostructures when in contact with a dynamically crosslinked polymer network. This, combined with the self-bonding property of self-healing polymer, allowed subsequent heterogeneous multi-component device integration of interconnects, sensors and light-emitting devices into a single multi-functional system. This first autonomous self-healable and stretchable multi-component electronic skin paves the way for future robust electronics.

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Fig. 1: Schematic drawings of dynamic reconstruction of conductive nano-network in the tough and stretchable self-healing polymer matrix.
Fig. 2: Dynamic reconstruction of one-dimensional conductive nano-network.
Fig. 3: Interconnection and sensors with autonomous self-healability.
Fig. 4: Highly stretchable electroluminescent skin with autonomous self-healability.
Fig. 5: Schematic drawings and corresponding images of an integrated self-healable electronic skin system.
Fig. 6: Demonstration of integrated self-healable electronic skin system.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Samsung Electronics. This work was partially performed at the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities (SNSF), supported by the National Science Foundation under award ECCS-1542152. O.V. was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation ‘Mobility Fellowship’ P2ELP2_165147.

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Authors

Contributions

D.S., J.K., O.V. and Z.B. designed the experiments. D.S., J.K., O.V., N.M., Y.K., J.Y.O., J.W.T., J.M., T.K., Y.L., A.F.M., M.K., F.M.L., J.H., U.K., Y.L., Y.Y., J.B.-H.T. and Z.B. performed experiments and carried out analysis. D.S., J.K., O.V., J.B.-H.T. and Z.B. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zhenan Bao.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–27, Supplementary References

Supplementary Video 1

Stretchable self-healing interconnection for commercial LEDs and passive modules

Supplementary Video 2

ECG sensor with autonomous self-healability (1)

Supplementary Video 3

ECG sensor with autonomous self-healability (2)

Supplementary Video 4

Integrated electroluminescent skin with ECG sensor (1)

Supplementary Video 5

Integrated electroluminescent skin with ECG sensor (2)

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Son, D., Kang, J., Vardoulis, O. et al. An integrated self-healable electronic skin system fabricated via dynamic reconstruction of a nanostructured conducting network. Nature Nanotech 13, 1057–1065 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0244-6

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