8_06/2012Flexible Electronics: Imbricate Scales as a Design Construct for Microsystem Technologies (Small 6/2012)

The cover picture shows a composite image of two colorized scanning electron microscopy images. One illustrates an overlapping assembly of microscale silicon, photonic, and plasmonic plates on an elastomeric substrate. This imbricate layout is often found in nature–the scales of snake skin or a butterfly wing, but never in man-made microsystems. Appealing attributes include fault-tolerant, multi-functional capabilities, in layouts that can provide mechanical stretchability even with full, 100% areal coverages of rigid plates. The other image shows a silicon plate on the surface of a stamp with a microtip geometry designed for manufacturing this type of system. For more information, please read the Full Paper “Imbricate Scales as a Design Construct for Microsystem Technologies” by J. A. Rogers and co-workers, beginning on page 901. The paper describes fundamental and applied aspects of the associated materials science and mechanical engineering.

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