Elastic electronics have recently gained interest due to their numerous applications both in the communication and biomedical sectors. This technology integrates different electronic components into a compliant polymer substrate that may be stretched and conformed to complex shapes depending on the application. Thin-film metallization of flexible materials has been developed for elastic antenna applications.
The Stretchable Bio-Electronics Group in Cambridge University produce straight thin film connects on flexible Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates for flexible electronic applications. Thin gold films deposited on compliant PDMS substrates contain dense arrays of microcracks. When stretched, these cracks open and allow the film to twist and flex out of plane, relieving the stress in the film and avoiding catastrophic cracking. The metal film with thickness less than 100nm can be reversibly stretched up to 20% with reasonable electrical conduction. Collaboration with the Cambridge University, the aim of this research is to develop a range of microwave components on elastic substrates for flexible electronics and medical applications.