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Ancient Paper Art, Kirigami, Poised to Improve Smart Clothing

The image above shows a stretchable organic semiconductor. (credit: Douglas Levere, source: University at Buffalo)

The image above shows a stretchable organic semiconductor. (credit: Douglas Levere, source: University at Buffalo)

Kirigami‐Inspired Nanoconfined Polymer Conducting Nanosheets with 2000% Stretchability. (source: University of Buffalo)

The images above, from left to right, show an electronic circuit being increasingly stretched. (source: University of Buffalo)

August 13, 2018 | Source: University at Buffalo, buffalo.edu, 3 Apr 2018, Cory Nealon

Like a yoga novice, electronic components don’t stretch easily. But that’s changing thanks to a variation of origami that involves cutting folded pieces of paper.

In a study published April 2 in the journal Advanced Materials, a University at Buffalo-led research team describes how kirigami has inspired its efforts to build malleable electronic circuits.

Without kirigami, the polymer – known as PthTFB — can be deformed up to 6 percent from its original shape without changing its electronic conductivity. With kirigami, the polymer can stretch up to 2,000 percent. Also, the conductivity of PthTFB with kirigami increases by three orders of magnitude.

Their innovation — creating tiny sheets of strong yet bendable electronic materials made of select polymers and nanowires — could lead to improvements in smart clothing, electronic skin and other applications that require pliable circuitry.