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Graphene Electronic Fibres with Touch-sensing and Light-emitting Functionalities for Smart Textiles

Penelitian - Researchers demonstrate graphene-enabled functional devices directly fabricated on textile fibres and attained by weaving graphene electronic fibres in a fabric. Touch-sensors and light-emitting devices were produced using a roll-to-roll-compatible patterning technique, opening new avenues for woven textile electronics.

Smart textiles are an emerging research field with applications in medical diagnostics, health monitoring, clothing, home fabrics, automotive textiles, tracking and packaging. Devices seamlessly integrated into fabrics represent the ultimate form of smart textiles and require the development of fibres endowed with electronic functions.

Penelitian Graphene Electronic Fibres with Touch-sensing and Light-emitting Functionalities for Smart Textiles

The recently discovered atomically thin materials hold the gamut of required properties to develop conceptually novel smart textiles, to include high electrical conductivity, optical transparency, mechanical strength, thermal stability, as well as ease of processing into different structures, such as atomically thin-films, paper-like membranes, and printed films.

Several strategies to integrate graphene materials with textiles have been explored, leading to the development of transistors, supercapacitors and conductive graphene fibres. Crucially, woven graphene-enabled textile electronics as well as a pivotal range of opto-electronic technologies such as light-emitting devices and sensors are still a futuristic theoretical concept.

Monica Craciun of the Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter in UK and team developed a roll-to-roll-compatible patterning technique, enabling the integration of graphene circuits into fabrics. Researchers demonstrate pixels with different sizes that can be integrated in future textile displays and devices for position sensitive measurements.

“Our results demonstrating the realisation of fabrics from light-emitting and electronically active fibres usher the development of true smart textiles. To this end, we have developed a non-invasive manufacturing process for electronic PP fibres compatible with industrial processes,” said.

PP fibres were coated with graphene as previously demonstrated. For touch-sensing applications, interdigitated electrodes were patterned on the graphene coating using a process compatible with roll-to-roll (R2R) micro-patterning and transfer of graphene on flexible substrates, resulting in well-defined patterns down to 50 μm.

This method leads to better device performance when compared to graphene patterning using reactive ion etching (RIE). Light-emitting devices were fabricated using the graphene coating as electrode in an alternating current electroluminescent (ACEL) configuration.

“We demonstrate our devices can be produced in a more industrial manufacturing compatible way. For this, we compare graphene grown by CVD (i.e. SLG and FLG with different ranges of conductivity and transparency) to LEG,” Craciun said.

Journal : Elias Torres Alonso et al. Graphene electronic fibres with touch-sensing and light-emitting functionalities for smart textiles, NPJ Flexible Electronicsvolume, 25 September 2018, DOI:10.1038/s41528-018-0040-2



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