Soft Electronically Functional Polymeric Composite Materials for a Flexible and Stretchable Digital Future.Adv Mater 2018; 30(47):e1802560AM
Flexible/stretchable electronic devices and systems are attracting great attention because they can have important applications in many areas, such as artificial intelligent (AI) robotics, brain-machine interfaces, medical devices, structural and environmental monitoring, and healthcare. In addition to the electronic performance, the electronic devices and systems should be mechanically flexible or even stretchable. Traditional electronic materials including metals and semiconductors usually have poor mechanical flexibility and very limited elasticity. Three main strategies are adopted for the development of flexible/stretchable electronic materials. One is to use organic or polymeric materials. These materials are flexible, and their elasticity can be improved through chemical modification or composition formation with plasticizers or elastomers. Another strategy is to exploit nanometer-scale materials. Many inorganic materials in nanometer sizes can have high flexibility. They can be stretchable through the composition formation with elastomers. Ionogels can be considered as the third type of materials because they can be stretchable and ionically conductive. This article provides the recent progress of soft functional materials development including intrinsically conductive polymers for flexible/stretchable electrodes, and thermoelectric conversion and polymer composites for large area, flexible stretchable electrodes, and tactile sensors.