Bending the Rules for Flexible Electronics | AIChE

Bending the Rules for Flexible Electronics


To advance the field of flexible electronics, engineers at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) have developed bendable and inexpensive micro-wave circuits, which play an important role in wireless technology.

Microwave circuits generate, process, and transmit microwave signals wirelessly to help power various electronic devices. In space, microwave circuits transmit information from satellites to Earth. In military jets, microwave circuits enable radar technology. And cellphones send and receive data such as voice, video, and images through microwave circuits on a daily basis.

Microwave circuits are typically printed on rigid circuit boards, making it difficult to develop entirely flexible wireless electronics. Flexible electronics have a diverse range of applications — for example, they could be attached to the body to monitor biosignals such as pulse or body temperature.

“Due to the improved contact between flexible electronics and the body, flexible electronic devices have better sensing capabilities than their rigid counterparts, which typically have poor contact on nonplanar surfaces like human skin,” says Zhenqiang Ma, an engineer at UW-Madison.

According to Ma, flexible electronic devices can also be rolled up for application in limited spaces, such as...

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