Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Devise New, Stretchable Antenna for Wearable Health Monitoring

18.03.2014

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new, stretchable antenna that can be incorporated into wearable technologies, such as health monitoring devices.

“Many researchers – including our lab – have developed prototype sensors for wearable health systems, but there was a clear need to develop antennas that can be easily incorporated into those systems to transmit data from the sensors, so that patients can be monitored or diagnosed,” says Dr. Yong Zhu, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work.


The extremely flexible antennas contain silver nanowires and can be incorporated into wearable health monitoring devices. Photo: Amanda Myers

The researchers wanted to develop an antenna that could be stretched, rolled or twisted and always return to its original shape, because wearable systems can be subject to a variety of stresses as patients move around.

To create an appropriately resilient, effective antenna, the researchers used a stencil to apply silver nanowires in a specific pattern and then poured a liquid polymer over the nanowires. When the polymer sets, it forms an elastic composite material that has the nanowires embedded in the desired pattern.

This patterned material forms the radiating element of a microstrip patch antenna. By manipulating the shape and dimensions of the radiating element, the researchers can control the frequency at which the antenna sends and receives signals. The radiating layer is then bonded to a “ground” layer, which is made of the same composite, except it has a continuous layer of silver nanowires embedded.

The researchers also learned that, while the antenna’s frequency does change as it is stretched (since that changes its dimensions), the frequency stays within a defined bandwidth. “This means it will still communicate effectively with remote equipment while being stretched,” Adams says. “In addition, it returns to its original shape and continues to work even after it has been significantly deformed, bent, twisted or rolled.” As the frequency changes almost linearly with the strain, the antenna can be used a wireless strain sensor as well.

“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 work on the new, stretchable antenna builds on previous research from Zhu’s lab to create elastic conductors and multifunctional sensors using silver nanowires.

The paper, “Stretchable and Reversibly Deformable Radio Frequency Antennas Based on Silver Nanowires,” is published online in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Lead author of the paper is Lingnan Song, an undergraduate at Zhejiang University who worked on the project at NC State during an exchange program. Co-authors include Amanda Myers, a Ph.D. student at NC State; and Dr. Jacob Adams, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State.

The work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grant EFRI-1240438 and by NSF’s ASSIST Engineering Research Center at NC State under grant EEC-1160483.

-shipman-

Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“Stretchable and Reversibly Deformable Radio Frequency Antennas Based on Silver Nanowires”

Authors: Lingnan Song, Amanda C. Myers, Jacob J. Adams, and Yong Zhu, North Carolina State University

Published: Online March 2014, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

DOI: 10.1021/am405972e

Abstract: We demonstrate a class of microstrip patch antennas that are stretchable, mechanically tunable and reversibly deformable. The radiating element of the antenna consists of highly conductive and stretchable material with screen-printed silver nanowires embedded in the surface layer of an elastomeric substrate. A 3-GHz microstrip patch antenna and a 6-GHz 2-element patch array are fabricated. Radiating properties of the antennas are characterized under tensile strain and agree well with the simulation results. The antenna is reconfigurable because the resonant frequency is a function of the applied tensile strain. The antenna is thus well suited for applications like wireless strain sensing. The material and fabrication technique reported here could be extended to achieve other types of stretchable antennas with more complex patterns and multi-layer structures.

Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Did you know that UV light helps to ensure safe bathing during the summer months?
25.07.2016 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht Making magnets flip like cats at room temperature
21.07.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

Im Focus: A Peek into the “Birthing Room” of Ribosomes

Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis

A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein...

Im Focus: New protocol enables analysis of metabolic products from fixed tissues

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a new mass spectrometry imaging method which, for the first time, makes it possible to analyze hundreds of metabolites in fixed tissue samples. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Protocols, explain the new access to metabolic information, which will offer previously unexploited potential for tissue-based research and molecular diagnostics.

In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

25.07.2016 | Materials Sciences

Did you know that UV light helps to ensure safe bathing during the summer months?

25.07.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Hey robot, shimmy like a centipede

22.07.2016 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>