A molecular design approach towards elastic and multifunctional polymer electronics

Yu Zheng, Zhiao Yu, Song Zhang, Xian Kong, Wesley Michaels, Weichen Wang, Gan Chen, Deyu Liu, Jian Cheng Lai, Nathaniel Prine, Weimin Zhang, Shayla Nikzad, Christopher B. Cooper, Donglai Zhong, Jaewan Mun, Zhitao Zhang, Jiheong Kang, Jeffrey B.H. Tok, Iain McCulloch, Jian QinXiaodan Gu, Zhenan Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Next-generation wearable electronics require enhanced mechanical robustness and device complexity. Besides previously reported softness and stretchability, desired merits for practical use include elasticity, solvent resistance, facile patternability and high charge carrier mobility. Here, we show a molecular design concept that simultaneously achieves all these targeted properties in both polymeric semiconductors and dielectrics, without compromising electrical performance. This is enabled by covalently-embedded in-situ rubber matrix (iRUM) formation through good mixing of iRUM precursors with polymer electronic materials, and finely-controlled composite film morphology built on azide crosslinking chemistry which leverages different reactivities with C–H and C=C bonds. The high covalent crosslinking density results in both superior elasticity and solvent resistance. When applied in stretchable transistors, the iRUM-semiconductor film retained its mobility after stretching to 100% strain, and exhibited record-high mobility retention of 1 cm2 V−1 s−1 after 1000 stretching-releasing cycles at 50% strain. The cycling life was stably extended to 5000 cycles, five times longer than all reported semiconductors. Furthermore, we fabricated elastic transistors via consecutively photo-patterning of the dielectric and semiconducting layers, demonstrating the potential of solution-processed multilayer device manufacturing. The iRUM represents a molecule-level design approach towards robust skin-inspired electronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5701
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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