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Liquid-Metal Enabled Droplet Circuits

Micromachines, 2018 May, Vol.9(5) [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Liquid-Metal Enabled Droplet Circuits
  • Author: Ren, Y ; Liu, J
  • Found In: Micromachines, 2018 May, Vol.9(5) [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Perspective ; Droplet Circuits ; Liquid Metal ; Quantum Tunneling Effect ; Solution Electronics ; Electron Transport ; Ionic Conduction ; Quantum Computing ; Brain-Like Intelligence
  • Language: English
  • Description: Conventional electrical circuits are generally rigid in their components and working styles, which are not flexible and stretchable. As an alternative, liquid-metal-based soft electronics offer important opportunities for innovation in modern bioelectronics and electrical engineering. However, their operation in wet environments such as aqueous solution, biological tissue or allied subjects still encounters many technical challenges. Here, we propose a new conceptual electrical circuit, termed as droplet circuit, to fulfill the special needs described above. Such unconventional circuits are immersed in a solution and composed of liquid metal droplets, conductive ions or wires, such as carbon nanotubes. With specifically-designed topological or directional structures/patterns, the liquid-metal droplets composing the circuit can be discrete and disconnected from each other, while achieving the function of electron transport through conductive routes or the quantum tunneling effect. The conductive wires serve as electron transfer stations when the distance between two separate liquid-metal droplets is far beyond that which quantum tunneling effects can support. The unique advantage of the current droplet circuit lies in the fact that it allows parallel electron transport, high flexibility, self-healing, regulation and multi-point connectivity without needing to worry about the circuit break. This would extend the category of classical electrical circuits into newly emerging areas like realizing room temperature quantum computing, making brain-like intelligence or nerve–machine interface electronics, etc. The mechanisms and potential scientific issues of the droplet circuits are interpreted and future prospects in this direction are outlined.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 2072-666X ; DOI: 10.3390/mi9050218

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