Instead of using toxic chemicals or optical masks for patterning, a research team used laser direct patterning technology to form laser-induced graphene (LIG) on e-textiles and successfully manufactured graphene-based e-textiles.

Laser direct patterning technology refers to the technology used for making patterns for functional materials by irradiating laser onto the surface of the garment so that the materials of only the parts reached by the laser are converted. When high-power laser is irradiated to the surface of a polymer film or a garment, the light energy is converted into thermal energy on the surface and a carbon material is instantly fabricated on the part where the laser is irradiated.

By using the newly developed technology, high-quality LIG materials can be manufactured simply by irradiating laser onto the surface of fabrics. A major advantage of this technology is that e-textiles can be manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner, as neither the use of chemicals nor any additional processing is required.

The newly developed technology can be used in the future for manufacturing industrial and military clothes for personal health management and also for producing customized “smart” clothes in the healthcare sector. (Image credit: KIMM-KAIST)

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