Using kirigami to cut and fold graphene allows wearable sensors to better conform with the natural movement of the body. (Credit: University of Illinois)

Researchers have applied kirigami architectures to graphene, an ultra-thin material, to create sensors suitable for wearable devices. Simulations were done using online software on a nanomanufacturing node, the first of its kind to be developed.

Adopting a kirigami architecture made the graphene not only stretchable, but also strain-insensitive and free from motion artifacts, meaning that even as it was deformed, there was no change in electrical state. Specifically, they found that the graphene electrodes exhibited strain-insensitivity up to 240 percent uniaxial strain, or 720 degrees of twisting.

They put the active sensing element on an “island” between two “bridges” made from kirigami graphene. While the graphene did not lose any electrical signal, it still took the load from the stretching and straining, enabling the active sensing element to remain connected to the surface.

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