Jan 6, 2023

Gallium: The liquid metal that could transform soft electronics

Posted by in categories: computing, wearables

Interest in gallium lagged in the past, partly because of the unfair association with toxic mercury, and partly because its tendency to form an oxide layer was seen as a negative. But with increased interest in flexible and, especially wearable electronics, many researchers are paying fresh attention.

To make bendable circuits with gallium, scientists form it into thin wires embedded between rubber or plastic sheets. These wires can connect tiny electronic devices such as computer chips, capacitors and antennas. The process creates a device that could wrap around an arm and be used to track an athlete’s motion, speed or vital signs, for instance, says Carmel Majidi, a mechanical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University.

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