Stretchable, Transparent, Tough, Ultrathin, and Self-limiting Skin-like Substrate for Stretchable Electronics

Human skin is highly stretchable at low strain but becomes self-limiting when deformed at large strain due to stiffening caused by alignment of a network of stiff collagen nanofibers inside the tissue beneath the epidermis. To imitate this mechanical behavior and the sensory function of human skin, we fabricated a skin-like substrate with highly stretchable, transparent, tough, ultrathin, mechanosensory, and self-limiting properties by incorporating piezoelectric crystalline poly­((vinylidene fluoride)-co-trifluoroethylene) (P­(VDF-TrFE)) nanofibers with a high modulus into the low modulus matrix of elastomeric poly­(dimethylsiloxane). Randomly distributed P­(VDF-TrFE) nanofibers in the elastomer matrix conferred a self-limiting property to the skin-like substrate so that it can easily stretch at low strain but swiftly counteract rupturing in response to stretching. The stretchability, toughness, and Young’s modulus of the ultrathin (∼62 μm) skin-like substrate with high optical transparency could be tuned by controlling the loading of nanofibers. Moreover, the ultrathin skin-like substrate with a stretchable temperature sensor fabricated on it demonstrated the ability to accommodate bodily motion-induced strain in the sensor while maintaining its mechanosensory and thermosensory functionalities.