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Jones Seminar: Liquid Metals for Soft and Stretchable Devices



3:30pm - 4:30pm ET

Spanos Auditorium/Online

Optional Zoom link
Meeting ID: 969 3383 6867
Passcode: 133047

Liquid metals based on gallium are often overlooked despite their remarkable properties: melting points below room temperature, water-like viscosity, low-toxicity, and effectively zero vapor pressure (they do not evaporate). They also have, by far, the largest interfacial tension of any liquid at room temperature. Normally small volumes of liquids with large tension form spherical or hemi-spherical structures to minimize surface energy. Yet, these liquid metals can be patterned into non-spherical shapes (cones, wires, antennas) due to a thin, oxide skin that forms rapidly on its surface.

This talk will describe efforts to harness this oxide to pattern and manipulate metal into shapes—such as circuits, optical components, and particles—useful for applications that call for soft and deformable metallic features. Because it is a liquid, it is possible to pattern the metal in unique ways, such as injection or directwrite 3D printing at room temperature to form ultra-stretchable wires, self-healing circuits, and soft logic devices (the latter of which perform logic without semiconductors). The liquid metals can also be utilized for energy harvesting to convert waste heat or mechanical energy into electricity.

Our research group is also studying encasing materials and using interfacial electrochemistry to remove/deposit the oxide to manipulate the surface tension over unprecedented ranges (from the largest tension of any known liquid to near zero!). This allows manipulating the shape, position, and optical properties for reconfigurable devices. This work has implications for soft and stretchable electronics; that is, devices with desirable mechanical properties for human-machine interfacing, soft robotics, and wearable electronics.

About the Speaker(s)

Michael Dickey
Camille & Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NC State U

Michael Dickey

Michael Dickey received a BS in chemical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a PhD from the University of Texas under the guidance of Professor Grant Willson. From 2006–2008 he was a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Professor George Whitesides at Harvard. He completed a sabbatical at Microsoft in 2016. Michael's research interests include soft matter (liquid metals, gels, polymers) for soft and stretchable devices (electronics, energy harvesters, textiles, and soft robotics).


For more information, contact Amos Johnson at amos.l.johnson@dartmouth.edu.