Issue Date: April 9, 2007
It's not farfetched to envision a world in which electronic fibers are used, for example, in clothing that monitors a patient's vital signs. Such an application could become more feasible now that researchers have found a way to weave transistors and other components of electronic circuits directly into fabric. The mechanical flexibility, elasticity, and wide range of possible starting materials make organic electronic components a natural fit for making circuits for this purpose. But conventional organic transistors aren't well-suited for use in e-textiles because they require high voltage and demanding operating conditions. Olle Inganäs and colleagues at Linköping University, in Sweden, have created organic transistors that overcome these limitations. The researchers coat textile fibers with a conducting film of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) and then weave the fibers to create a mesh fabric. Where the fibers intersect, they can be connected with a dot of solid polymer electrolyte to create transistors and build electronic circuits (Nat. Mater., DOI: 10.1038/nmat1884).
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