SEOUL -- South Korean researchers developed an elastic printed circuit board that uses a conductive polymer material containing liquid metal particles. The board can be used for the production of film-like wearable devices or soft robots with human skin-like exteriors.
A printed circuit board consists of metal circuits made of materials such as copper and gold printed onto a flexible board. A circuit board is flexible to some degree but because of the circuit material's rigidity, it is not 100 percent flexible or stretchable. Such characteristics limit the movement of soft robots or the shape of wearable devices.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) said that its research team actualized an elastic printed circuit board using a liquid metal polymer. Liquid metal with high conductivity was mixed with a polymer to become printable. Ultrasound was used to fuse liquid metal particles evenly inside the polymer. Using such a technique, the low electrical resistance created by circuits is stable.
"The liquid metal matrix-based integrated electrodes developed through this research will contribute greatly to the development and commercialization of wearables and bio-implanted electronics," Kang Ji-heong, a KAIST researcher, said in a statement on November 14.
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