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In the latest issue of  Nature Nanotechnology, Akihito Miyamoto and colleagues from the University of Tokyo report on a new ultra-thin mesh that offers direct integration with the soft surface of the skin. There is virtually no mechanical footprint and the skin can still breathe and sweat as normal. The skin becomes electronics.  In the past, there has always been a substrate – some sort of a thin base layer that connects electronics to skin. The challenges have been that substrates limit softness and flexibility, impose weight (and sometimes heat), and usually have poor gas permeability. Miyamoto’s mesh is made with fibers of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a synthetic water-soluble polymer that is already used in medical applications. The polymer fibers are then patterned out and coated in a thin layer of gold. The resulting mesh is affixed to a patch of skin and sprayed with water. The PVA dissolves, leaving only finely interwoven threads of gold. Goldfinger would be pleased.

Nanomesh

 

 

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