Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Serpentine Interconnects on Ultrathin Elastomers for Stretchable Electronics

Taisong Pan, Matt Pharr, Yinji Ma, Rui Ning, Zheng Yan, Renxiao Xu, Xue Feng, Yonggang Huang, John A. Rogers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Integrating deformable interconnects with inorganic functional materials establishes a path to high-performance stretchable electronics. A number of applications demand that these systems sustain large deformations under repetitive loading. In this manuscript, the influence of the elastomeric substrate on the stretchability of serpentine interconnects is investigated theoretically and experimentally. Finite element analyses (FEA) reveal a substantial increase in the elastic stretchability with reductions in substrate thickness. Low-cycle fatigue tests confirm this trend by examining the stretch required to form fatigue cracks associated with plastic deformation. To elucidate the mechanics governing this phenomenon, the buckling behaviors of deformed serpentine interconnects on substrates of various thicknesses are examined. The analytical model and FEA simulations suggest a change in the buckling mode from local wrinkling to global buckling below a critical thickness of the substrate. Scanning electron microscope and 3D optical profiler studies verify this transition in buckling behavior. The global buckling found in thin substrates accommodates large stretching prior to plastic deformation of the serpentines, thereby drastically enhancing the stretchability of these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1702589
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number37
StatePublished - Oct 5 2017


  • buckling
  • flexible electronics
  • plasticity
  • serpentine interconnects
  • stretchable electronics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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