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NC State's coiled nanowire discovery could lead to stretchable electronic devices

Darren Murph
January 12, 2011
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Cotton may very well be the fabric of our lives, but it'd sure feel a lot better draped across our skin if we could incorporate stretchable electronic devices into it. That's the goal of NC State's own Dr. Yong Zhu, who has worked with a team of gurus to create "the first coils of silicon nanowire on a substrate that can be stretched to more than double their original length." Essentially, this type of breakthrough brings us one (major) step closer to "incorporating stretchable electronic devices into clothing, implantable health-monitoring devices, and a host of other applications." Compared to prior studies on buckling, this particular approach one-ups those focusing on freestanding nanowires, with the new coils' mechanical properties enabling them to be "stretched an additional 104 percent beyond their original length." That's a lot of technobabble, for sure, but what you need to realize is just how amazing your life will be as soon as The Zhu Crew figures out how to improve the reliability of the electrical performance when the coils are stretched to the limit. Flexible PMPs woven into your ski jacket? Bendable LCDs sewn right into your car's headrests? The future... it's here.

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