In a paper to be published in the forthcoming issue in NANO, researchers from the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications have developed a simple, scalable and low-cost capillary-driven self-assembly method to prepare flexible and stretchable conductive fibers that have applications in wearable electronics and smart fabrics.

A simple, scalable and low-cost capillary-driven self-assembly method to prepare conductive fibers with uniform morphology, high conductivity and good mechanical strength has been developed by a team of researchers in Nanjing, China.

Dr. Yi Li and Yanwen Ma, from the Key Laboratory for Organic Electronics and Information Displays, Institute of Advanced Materials (IAM) of Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications and his collaborators have developed a simple, scalable and low cost capillarity-driven self-assembly route to produce silver nanowires (Ag NWs) coated flexible and stretchable conductive fibers.

Then Ag NWs are evenly coated onto the fibers through evaporation-induced flow and capillary-driven self-assembly process to form conductive fibers, which is in situ observed by the optical microscopic measurement.

The fabricated flexible and stretchable conductor exhibits uniform morphology, high conductivity and good mechanical strength, which is promising for the application in wearable electronics and smart fabrics.

These conductive fibers are stiff and brittle, not meeting the demand of flexibility and comfortability for smart textiles.

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