UCLA engineers create polymer light-emitting devices that can be stretched like rubber
They developed a simple process to fabricate the transparent devices using single-walled carbon nanotube polymer composite electrodes. The interpenetrating networks of nanotubes and the polymer matrix in the surface layer of the composites lead to low sheet resistance, high transparency, high compliance and low surface roughness. The metal-free devices can be linearly stretched up to 45 percent and the composite electrodes can be reversibly stretched by up to 50 percent with little change in sheet resistance.
Because the devices are fabricated by roll lamination of two composite electrodes that sandwich an emissive polymer layer, they uniquely combine mechanical robustness and the ability for large-strain deformation, due to the shape-memory property of the composite electrodes. This development will provide a new direction for the field of stretchable electronics.