Deformable printed circuit boards that enable metamorphic electronics
A method to produce single-layer deformable and stretchable printed circuit boards is reported and applied to enable the realization of metamorphic electronic products that can take on new three-dimensional (3D) shapes. The models contain arrays with packaged surface mount devices and bare dies that integrate light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and transistors within a rubber matrix. The test structures morph from planar to spherical to cone-like topologies. In one approach, the thickness of the stretchable printed circuit board is locally adjusted to control the morphological changes. In addition, a three-dimensionally-shaped chaperon is introduced to enable more abrupt topological changes. A comparative study of various designs of the metallization layer and stress-relieving reinforcing elements identified a highly stretchable and deformable design (up to 315% or six thousand 150% stretch and release cycles), which shields the interface between the hard and non-stretchable components from high levels of stress.