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Semiliquid Metal Enabled Highly Conductive Wearable Electronics for Smart Fabrics

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journal contribution
posted on 07.08.2019, 13:34 by Rui Guo, Huimin Wang, Xuyang Sun, Siyuan Yao, Hao Chang, Hongzhang Wang, Jing Liu, Yingying Zhang
Wearable electronics incorporating electronic components into commonly used fabrics can serve as new-generation personalized health-care systems for applications ranging from health-care monitoring to disease treatment. Conventional rigid materials including gold, silver, and copper generally require a complicated fabrication process to be sewn into clothes. At the same time, other high-stretchable nonmetal materials such as conductive polymers generally have a limitation of low electroconductivity, restricting their further applications. Recently, gallium-based liquid metals have exhibited superior advantages in flexible electronics and have presented valuable potential in creative printing technologies. Here, we proposed a novel wearable electronics prepared through roller printing technology based on the adhesion difference of semiliquid metal (Cu-EGaIn, eutectic gallium-indium mixed with copper microparticles) on cotton fabrics and polyvinyl acetate (PVAC) glue. Results have shown that the surface topography and chemical interaction of fabrics and PVAC glue determine the adhesion effect with the Cu-EGaIn mixture. The electric experiments have demonstrated the electromechanical stability of the fabricated lines on fabrics. Further, a series of smart fabrics were developed including an interactive circuit, stretchable light-emitting diode array, and thermal management device with advantages of easy operation, low cost, and large-area fabrication to show practical applications in the method. This strategy may play an important role in the design and fabrication of smart fabrics, contributing to the development of customized health-care systems.