Flexible hybrid electronics, fluidics, and photonics are playing an increasingly important role in many applications, including wearable and implantable biomedical devices, automobiles, and aircraft. Compared with traditional architectures, they can conform to the curves of a human body or stretch across the shape of an object while preserving the full function. There are currently a few challenges for the manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics, including providing a long-lasting power supply and manufacturing functional three-dimensional (3D) structures.
Here I will present my efforts towards addressing these challenges.
The primary bottleneck in the development of advanced materials for next-generation energy storage devices is the mechanical degradation of high-performance battery materials after repeated electrochemical cycling. I will first present the mechanics of deformation and failure in high-performance, next-generation rechargeable battery materials, where Michaelson interferometer and nanoindentation are employed for stress measurements and fracture toughness characterization of lithiated electrode composites. Another challenge in the manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics is 3D structure assembly for applications such as biomedical devices. Here I will present mechanics-guided manufacturing of 3D soft, stretchable architectures and electronics in advanced materials including soft polymers, metals, and semiconductors. The mechanically-guided manufacturing and applications of 3D bio-integrated electronics will be discussed. Developing advanced battery materials and 3D soft, bio-integrated devices represents a significant step towards solving grand challenges in the manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics. In addition, integrating long-lasting advanced batteries with bio-integrated electronics provides a new avenue for wearable and implantable bioelectronics for biological studies and medical diagnosis.
Xueju “Sophie” Wang is a postdoctoral researcher working with professor John A. Rogers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. She received her Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology under the supervision of professor Shuman Xia. Her Ph.D. research had focused on mechanics and materials for energy storage. Currently, she is working on the materials and manufacturing of three-dimensional architectures and bio-integrated electronics for biomedical applications. Wang is a recipient of Gary L. Cloud Scholarship Award from the Society of Experimental Mechanics.