Fractal design concepts for stretchable electronics

Jonathan A. Fan, Woon Hong Yeo, Yewang Su, Yoshiaki Hattori, Woosik Lee, Sung Young Jung, Yihui Zhang, Zhuangjian Liu, Huanyu Cheng, Leo Falgout, Mike Bajema, Todd Coleman, Dan Gregoire, Ryan J. Larsen, Yonggang Huang, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

824 Scopus citations


Stretchable electronics provide a foundation for applications that exceed the scope of conventional wafer and circuit board technologies due to their unique capacity to integrate with soft materials and curvilinear surfaces. The range of possibilities is predicated on the development of device architectures that simultaneously offer advanced electronic function and compliant mechanics. Here we report that thin films of hard electronic materials patterned in deterministic fractal motifs and bonded to elastomers enable unusual mechanics with important implications in stretchable device design. In particular, we demonstrate the utility of Peano, Greek cross, Vicsek and other fractal constructs to yield space-filling structures of electronic materials, including monocrystalline silicon, for electrophysiological sensors, precision monitors and actuators, and radio frequency antennas. These devices support conformal mounting on the skin and have unique properties such as invisibility under magnetic resonance imaging. The results suggest that fractal-based layouts represent important strategies for hard-soft materials integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3266
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Feb 7 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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