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Wavy Ribbons of Carbon Nanotubes for Stretchable Conductors

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Abstract

Wavy ribbons of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are embedded in elastomeric substrates to fabricate stretchable conductors that exhibit excellent performance in terms of high stretchability and small resistance change. A CNT ribbon with a thin layer of sputtered Au/Pd film is transferred onto a prestrained poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) substrate and buckled out-of-plane upon release of the prestrain. Embedded in PDMS, the wavy CNT ribbon is able to accommodate large stretching (up to the prestrain) with little change in resistance. For a prestrain of 100%, the resistance increases only about 4.1% when the wavy CNT ribbon is stretched to the prestrain. A simple stretchable circuit consisting of a light-emitting diode and two wavy ribbons is demonstrated and shows constant response on significant twisting, folding, or stretching. Fabricated with a simple buckling approach, the wavy CNT-ribbon-based stretchable conductors (e.g., interconnects and electrodes) could play an important role in stretchable electronics, sensors, photovoltaics, and energy storage.

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