News on Wellness

Stretchable antenna could save your life, researchers suggested

Since the dawn of time, people have been purchasing new antenna for their TVs since the originals ones were broken. Now, researchers from North Carolina State University are going to change all of that with the stretchable antenna. Aside from TV, radio and household equipments that has antenna, the antenna can also be used in wearable technologies, such as health monitoring devices.

Dr. Yong Zhu, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work, noted the usability of the new antenna. It has these prototype sensors that can be incorporated into wearable health systems.

The researchers was aiming of developing new antenna that are stretchable, can be rolled or twisted, but is capable of returning back to its original shape. Doctors have known it all along the most wearable devices gives their patient discomfort and suffering.

To make an antenna that caters to the need of almost everyone, it must be as a stencil to apply silver nanowires in a specific pattern. Afterwards, pouring liquid polymer over the nanowires. As the polmer cools down, it forms an elastic composite material that has the nanowires embedded in the desired pattern.

This new shape material forms the radiating element of a microstrip patch antenna. By means of manipulation, its shape and diimensions of the radiating element, the researchers are able to control the frequency at which the antenna sends and receives signals. The radiating layer is then adhere to a “ground” layer, which is made of the same composite, except to the fact that it has a continuous layer of silver nanowires embedded.

The researchers also discovered an unusual thing and learned that, while the antenna’s frequency researchers said that charges can change just by that, it frequency its stretch so that it can work with remote equipment while being stretched. Adam noted that if you want it to return to original shape and continues to work even after it has been significantly deformed, bent, twisted or rolled.”

“Other researchers have developed stretchable sensors, using liquid metal, for example,” Zhu says. “Our technique is relatively simple, can be integrated directly into the sensors themselves, and would be fairly easy to scale up.”
The effort that they put on finding the, stretchable antenna builds on previous research from Zhu’s lab that creates create elastic conductors and multifunctional sensors through the use of silver nanowires.

The paper, “Stretchable and Reversibly Deformable Radio Frequency Antennas Based on Silver Nanowires,” is published online in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

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