Dr. Carmel Majidi
Clarence H. Adamson Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
• 412.268.2492 • http://sml.me.cmu.edu
Challenges at the Interface in Soft, Stretchable Electronics
Monday, November 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm CT
Despite remarkable advances in the miniaturization of electronics and electromechanical systems, existing computing and robotic systems
are still too bulky for robust, physical human-machine interaction.
This is due to the large stiffness mismatch between soft biological tissue and the rigid materials used for circuits, actuators, and hardware packaging.
Recently, this has been addressed with exciting new classes of hybrid material systems that combine rigid microelectronics with soft-matter sensors, circuits, and actuators that match the compliance and elasticity of natural skin, nervous tissue, and muscle.
These highly integrated technologies represent the building blocks of soft machines and electronics that are not only biocompatible, but can also be utilized in soft bio-inspired robots that exhibit the rich versatility of natural organisms.
However, further progress is currently impaired by challenges that arise at the interface between soft functional materials and embedded microelectronic components.
In this talk, I will review recent efforts in soft materials integration, with special attention on the challenges that arise when attempting to create robust interfaces between mechanically disparate materials.
This includes issues with bonding an elastomer substrate to the rigid housing of a miniaturized device and robust adhesion or wetting of soft conductive wiring to the pins of an IC chip.
I will also discuss tradeoffs and emerging solutions in thermal conductivity, interfacial contact resistance, and heat management in applications of soft materials to heat generating machines and electronics.
In closing, I will highlight open challenges and opportunities for future advancements at the intersection of elastically deformable machines and electronics, soft and rigid materials integration, and interfacial science.
Carmel Majidi is the Clarence H. Adamson Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where he leads the Soft Machines Lab. His lab is dedicated to the discovery of novel material architectures that allow machines and electronics to be soft, elastically deformable, and biomechanically compatible. Currently, his research is focused on fluid-filled elastomers that exhibit unique combinations of mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties and can function as “artificial” skin, nervous tissue, and muscle for soft robotics and wearables. Carmel has received grants from industry and federal agencies along with early career awards from DARPA, ONR, AFOSR, and NASA to explore challenges in soft-matter engineering and robotics. Prior to arriving at CMU, Prof. Majidi had postdoctoral appointments at Harvard and Princeton Universities and received his PhD in Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley.