Mechanically transformative electronics, sensors, and implantable devices

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Science Advances  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 11, eaay0418
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay0418


Traditionally, electronics have been designed with static form factors to serve designated purposes. This approach has been an optimal direction for maintaining the overall device performance and reliability for targeted applications. However, electronics capable of changing their shape, flexibility, and stretchability will enable versatile and accommodating systems for more diverse applications. Here, we report design concepts, materials, physics, and manufacturing strategies that enable these reconfigurable electronic systems based on temperature-triggered tuning of mechanical characteristics of device platforms. We applied this technology to create personal electronics with variable stiffness and stretchability, a pressure sensor with tunable bandwidth and sensitivity, and a neural probe that softens upon integration with brain tissue. Together, these types of transformative electronics will substantially broaden the use of electronics for wearable and implantable applications.

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