Conductive and elastic bottlebrush elastomers for ultrasoft electronics

Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 4;14(1):623. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36214-8.


Understanding biological systems and mimicking their functions require electronic tools that can interact with biological tissues with matched softness. These tools involve biointerfacing materials that should concurrently match the softness of biological tissue and exhibit suitable electrical conductivities for recording and reading bioelectronic signals. However, commonly employed intrinsically soft and stretchable materials usually contain solvents that limit stability for long-term use or possess low electronic conductivity. To date, an ultrasoft (i.e., Young’s modulus <30 kPa), conductive, and solvent-free elastomer does not exist. Additionally, integrating such ultrasoft and conductive materials into electronic devices is poorly explored. This article reports a solvent-free, ultrasoft and conductive PDMS bottlebrush elastomer (BBE) composite with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as conductive fillers. The conductive SWCNT/BBE with a filler concentration of 0.4 – 0.6 wt% reveals an ultralow Young’s modulus (<11 kPa) and satisfactory conductivity (>2 S/m) as well as adhesion property. Furthermore, we fabricate ultrasoft electronics based on laser cutting and 3D printing of conductive and non-conductive BBEs and demonstrate their potential applications in wearable sensing, soft robotics, and electrophysiological recording.

PMID:36739447 | PMC:PMC9899285 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-36214-8


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