Traditional electric circuits are rigid, which makes them unsuitable for wearable biosensors. However, stretchable electronics embed electronic components onto flexible substrates. The stretchability allows for a device to conform to the human body and enables monitoring of patient activity and vital signs via continuous contact between the sensors and the skin. Current designs of stretchable electronics involve suitable patterning of rigid interconnects in the circuit to allow stretching. Upon stretching, these rigid interconnects may lose their integrity, compromising the functionality of the wearable device. This issue may be addressed by replacing rigid interconnects with stretchable conductors in the circuit, like PEDOT:PSS (poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate). We are proposing to use a conductive polymer to interconnect circuit elements without the need for patterning. The objectives of this project are designing a stretchable circuit using a conductive polymer, and characterizing its performance on a stretchable substrate. Working with Jabil Inc., we plan to characterize the conductor’s mechanical and electrical stability by demonstrating how the resistance changes while experiencing various strains and by cyclic testing at a set strain value. We will compare our results to a currently available alternative for wearable applications, made combining stretchable silver ink and a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) matrix.

Stretchable Electronics for Wearable Technology

Advisor: Dr. Alessandro Bellofiore

Authors: Jordan Helledy, Eric Garcia, Juan Pacheco