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Electronic Materials

Chemistry in Pictures: To tat a butterfly

by Manny Morone
October 17, 2018

20181016lnp20-totatabutterfly.jpg
Credit: Yan-Cong Qiao

To demonstrate the flexibility of their new graphene tattoos, researchers at Tsinghua University placed this hash design on one of the most delicate surfaces they could think of: the wing of a butterfly. The team uses a laser to cut the tattoos out of sheets of graphene oxide, allowing them to create a range of shapes (bottom photos). The laser’s heat produces graphene from the oxide through a thermal reduction reaction. The researchers lift the designs off of the rest of the oxide sheet and then stuck them to skin just like a temporary tattoo. On top of their aesthetics, these tattoos can be used as tiny motion sensors: As skin stretches, the graphene designs stretch along with it, which changes the electrical resistance of the material and gives researchers a way to track motion electronically.

20181016lnp20-totatabutterglass.jpg
Credit: Yan-Cong Qiao

Credit: Yan-Cong Qiao. Read the paper: ACS Nano 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b02162

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Credit: Yan-Cong Qiao
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