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A stretchable and bendable transistor has been made by researchers in the US by applying the principles of kirigami – the Japanese art of paper cutting – to graphene. The researchers have also made tiny graphene-based hinges and pyramids, and they are confident that they could reduce the size of their devices to the nanometre scale. The team also points out that the current micro-scale devices could be useful for biocompatible electronics, including probes for the study of neurons.

 

stretchable graphene

 

The mainstay of the electronics industry, silicon, is rigid and brittle, and is therefore not appropriate for making deformable electronics. The ability to deform is particularly useful for electronic devices that interface with biological organisms, for example sensitive prosthetic skin and subcutaneous sensors, which must bend and stretch with surrounding tissue. Graphene is a flexible sheet of carbon just one atom thick, and could offer a way to create deformable electronics because of its high electrical conductivity. One problem with graphene, however, is that it stretches very little.