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Researchers develop washable, wearable graphene capacitors that can be woven directly into clothes
Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Jiangnan University in China have developed graphene-enhanced wearable electronic components incorporated directly into fabrics. The devices could be used for flexible circuits, healthcare monitoring, energy conversion, and other applications.

The researchers have shown how graphene and other related materials can be directly incorporated into fabrics to produce charge storage elements such as capacitors, paving the way to textile-based power supplies which are washable, flexible and comfortable to wear.

The research demonstrates that graphene inks can be used in textiles able to store electrical charge and release it when required. The new textile electronic devices are based on low-cost, sustainable and scalable dyeing of polyester fabric. The inks are produced by standard solution processing techniques.

Building on previous work by the same team, the researchers designed inks which can be directly coated onto a polyester fabric in a simple dyeing process. The versatility of the process allows various types of electronic components to be incorporated into the fabric.

Most other wearable electronics rely on rigid electronic components mounted on plastic or textiles. These offer limited compatibility with the skin in many circumstances, are damaged when washed and are uncomfortable to wear because they are not breathable.

"Other techniques to incorporate electronic components directly into textiles are expensive to produce and usually require toxic solvents, which makes them unsuitable to be worn," said Dr Felice Torrisi from the Cambridge Graphene Center, and the paper's corresponding author. "Our inks are cheap, safe and environmentally-friendly, and can be combined to create electronic circuits by simply overlaying different fabrics made of two-dimensional materials on the fabric."


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