Stretchable silicon is a flexible form of silicon manufactured in thin, wavelike ribbons that can be expanded and compressed like accordion bellows. The ribbons are approximately 100 nanometers thick and are placed on a rubber substrate.
Stretchable silicon has potentially far-reaching applications. Scientists believe it could be used to manufacture pliable versions of a wide range of products, including:
- memory chips
- smart clothes
- photovoltaic cells
- electronic paper
- electronic newspapers
- ultra-thin rollable computer displays
- skins for artificial limbs.
A manufacturing process for stretchable silicon diodes has been developed by researchers working for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The evolution of more sophisticated stretchable semiconductor devices is expected to take several years.