Researchers at Texas A&M University have developed a new conductive coating that could rapidly advance flexible electronics. The new coating maintains a high-performance level even when it is highly stretched, bent or folded.
The challenge to fully developing flexible electronics has been in creating a material that 1) can maintain a high electrical conductivity while undergoing stretching, bending and twisting, and 2) can be engineered into a variety of surfaces like cloth, fiber, glass and plastic for practical use.
Finding a material that meets both these criteria is crucial for the development of emerging technologies like adaptive displays, artificial skin and wearable and biometric devices.
More about the New Conductive Coating Research
The research team at Texas A&M created two-dimensional metal carbides called MXenes using the sequential adsorption of negatively charged MXene sheets and positively charged polyelectrolytes (PDAC) using an aqueous assembly process known as layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly. The team from the Artie Mcferrin Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Materials Science was led by Dr. Jodie Lutkenhaus, and the research was supported by the National Science Foundation.
The MXene multilayer coatings not only maintained a high level of conductivity, but were able to perform while undergoing large-scale mechanical deformation such as bending and stretching. This differed from previous MXene research, which used MXene sheets that were highly conductive, but not stretchable or easy to integrate into other surfaces.
Electrostatic Interactions Key to Surface Integration
Tests showed that Mxenes may be directly incorporated into multilayer coatings with PDAC using electrostatic interactions. In the study, the MXene multilayers were first assembled either by alternate immersion or by spraying of the two components onto glass.
The MXene multilayer coating also exhibited strong mechanical integrity in tape adhesion tests, whereas comparable MXene film did not. According to researchers, this is further proof of the influence of the attractive electrostatic interactions to the multilayer coating’s good adhesion to the underlying surface.
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