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Curvy, shape-adaptive imagers based on printed optoelectronic pixels with a kirigami design


Curvy imagers that can adjust their shape are of use in imaging applications that require low optical aberration and tunable focusing power. Existing curvy imagers are either flexible but not compatible with tunable focal surfaces, or stretchable but with low resolution and pixel fill factors. Here, we show that curvy and shape-adaptive imagers with high pixel fill factors can be created by transferring an array of ultrathin silicon optoelectronic pixels with a kirigami design onto curvy surfaces using conformal additive stamp printing. An imager with a 32 × 32-pixel array exhibits a fill factor, before stretching, of 78% and can maintain its electrical performance under 30% biaxial strain. We also develop an adaptive imager that can achieve focused views of objects at different distances by combining a concave-shaped imager printed on a magnetic rubber composite with a tunable lens. Adaptive optical focus is achieved by tuning both the focal length of the lens and the curvature of the imager, allowing far and near objects to be imaged with low aberration.

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Fig. 1: Stretchable kirigami structure and CAS printing.
Fig. 2: Kirigami optoelectronic pixel array.
Fig. 3: Stretched kirigami imager.
Fig. 4: Convex and concave imagers.
Fig. 5: Human-eyeball-inspired adaptive imager.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Code availability

Custom code used to process the data is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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We acknowledge D. Mayerich for providing assistance with Zemax simulations, as well as the Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Houston for device fabrication. C.Y. acknowledges funding support by the National Science Foundation (ECCS-1509763 and CMMI-1554499).

Author information




C.Y. and Z.R. conceived the concept and designed the work. Z.R., Y.L. and K.S. performed the experiment. Z.R., Z.L., J.X. and C.Y. performed numerical analysis. Z.R., Y.L. and C.Y. analysed the experimental data. Z.R., Y.L., Z.L., J.X. and C.Y. wrote the manuscript. All authors commented on and revised the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cunjiang Yu.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Electronics thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Note, Table 1, references and Figs. 1–31.

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Rao, Z., Lu, Y., Li, Z. et al. Curvy, shape-adaptive imagers based on printed optoelectronic pixels with a kirigami design. Nat Electron 4, 513–521 (2021).

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