The next generation of wearable technology may have gotten a bit closer with the development of a graphene-based method for producing Micro LEDs that can be bent, twisted, or even cut and applied to different surfaces.
LEDs have taken over in part because they’re inexpensive to produce, use very little energy, and last an extremely long time. Micro LEDs, as the name suggests, are a much smaller version of the lights. Their diminutive size makes them perfect for applications like smart watches. One hangup, however, is that LEDs are usually brittle, so they’re typically made for application on flat surfaces only.
The University of Texas at Dallas research team’s development is aimed at making LEDs that can be seamlessly incorporated into wearable electronics.
“The biggest benefit of this research is that we have created a detachable LED that can be attached to almost anything,” said Dr. Moon Kim, Louis Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor of materials science and engineering at UT Dallas and a corresponding author of the study. “You can transfer it onto your clothing or even rubber — that was the main idea. It can survive even if you wrinkle it. If you cut it, you can use half of the LED.”