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Electronic Materials

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Golden touch

by Manny Morone
January 9, 2019


A finger with two gold strips conforming to the wrinkles in the person's skin.
Credit: Takao Someya Group/University of Tokyo

To the naked eye, it looks like this person has solid strips of gold on their hand. But those strips are actually meshes of gold fibers less than 1 µm wide. The mesh structure allows the fibers to move around and slip past each other without snapping. The resulting stretchiness allows the mesh to conform to and move with small features such as skin’s wrinkles or a fingerprint’s ridges. These gold strips can stretch to about 130% of their original length while staying intact and conducting electricity in electronics like the red light-emitting diode shown. Takao Someya’s group at the University of Tokyo is currently looking into using this material in a touch, temperature, and pressure sensor. Such a sensor could help make so-called electronic skin—sensors that behave like human skin and could be applied, for example, to prosthetics.

To read more about this material, check out the story by Emma Hiolski.

Credit: Takao Someya Group/University of Tokyo

A finger with lines of gold conforming the fingerprint's small ridges, and an microscopic view of the gold strips showing a mesh of fibers.
Credit: Takao Someya Group/University of Tokyo

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