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Gizmorama - August 20, 2018

Good Morning,


If you've ever wondered what an elastic circuits are or how they can be used to build 3D stretchable electronics, you are in the right place! First article below.

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,
Erin


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* Scientists stack elastic circuits to build 3D stretchable electronics *

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have built a stretchable electronic patch capable of measuring a variety of biological activities, including respiration, temperature and eye movement, as well as heart and brain activity.

Researchers have previously demonstrated the advantages of creating complex electronics by stacking rigid circuits. As part of the latest proof of concept study, scientists stacked flexible circuits. The method allowed researchers to achieve more sophisticated functionality while maintaining flexibility.

"Our vision is to make 3D stretchable electronics that are as multifunctional and high-performing as today's rigid electronics," Sheng Xu, a professor of nanoengineering at the UCSD Center for Wearable Sensors, said in a news release.

The newly designed patch features four circuitry layers, each layer features an electronic component embedded in a silicone elastomer substrate. Together the integrated layers form what's called an "island-bridge" design.

The electronic components represent the islands, while spring-shaped copper wires form the bridges between each of the layers.

"The problem isn't stacking the layers," said Xu. "It's creating electrical connections between them so they can communicate with each other."

In rigid electronics, connections between layers are formed by conductive holes called vertical interconnect accesses, or VIAs. The conductive holes are created through a combination of lithography and etching, but the same technology doesn't work when using stretchable elastomers.

To build connections between the stretchable layers, scientists created holes with lasers and filled them in with conductive materials.

The technology allowed scientists to combine a variety of electronic functions into a small, flexible package.

"We didn't have a specific end use for all these functions combined together, but the point is that we can integrate all these different sensing capabilities on the same small bandage," said researcher Zhenlong Huang, a Ph.D. student in Xu's lab.

Researchers described their electronic bandage in the journal Nature Electronics.



*-- Physicists measure energy difference between two quantum states --*

A physicist in New Zealand has measured the energy difference between two quantum states in a helium atom.

The measurement, made with unprecedented accuracy, could advance scientists' understanding of space-time, the cosmos and its many mysterious phenomena.

Scientists achieved the feat while analyzing helium atoms, the second simplest element after hydrogen. After trapping and cooling helium gas, scientists measured a helium atom's quantum jump -- its transition between two energy states -- using a super-stable, ultra-precise laser.

"The fact the transition occurred is rare, and a milestone for quantum physics research," Maarten Hoogerland, physicist at the University of Aukland, said in a news release. "It advances our knowledge of the way atoms are put together and hence contributes to our understanding of space-time."

Much of the physical world is explained by the Standard Model of physics, but the model leaves many phenomena unresolved. The Standard Model fails to account for gravity, dark matter and dark energy. The model also fails to explain why matter outnumbers antimatter.

By studying atomic and subatomic peculiarities, scientists hope to happen upon effects that might help them explain some the Standard Model's blind spots.

Accurately measuring an atom's quantum leap can aid the cause. Researchers described their accomplishment in the journal Nature Physics.

"This new result is a great test for our understanding of the model and also allows us to determine the size of the helium nucleus and of the helium atom," Hoogerland said. "This has been the subject of intensive research for decades so for our experiment to have succeeded is an incredibly exciting result."

***

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