Stretchable and Tunable Microtectonic ZnO-Based Sensors and Photonics.Small 2015; 11(35):4532-9S
The concept of realizing electronic applications on elastically stretchable "skins" that conform to irregularly shaped surfaces is revolutionizing fundamental research into mechanics and materials that can enable high performance stretchable devices. The ability to operate electronic devices under various mechanically stressed states can provide a set of unique functionalities that are beyond the capabilities of conventional rigid electronics. Here, a distinctive microtectonic effect enabled oxygen-deficient, nanopatterned zinc oxide (ZnO) thin films on an elastomeric substrate are introduced to realize large area, stretchable, transparent, and ultraportable sensors. The unique surface structures are exploited to create stretchable gas and ultraviolet light sensors, where the functional oxide itself is stretchable, both of which outperform their rigid counterparts under room temperature conditions. Nanoscale ZnO features are embedded in an elastomeric matrix function as tunable diffraction gratings, capable of sensing displacements with nanometre accuracy. These devices and the microtectonic oxide thin film approach show promise in enabling functional, transparent, and wearable electronics.