Researchers in Switzerland have created ultraflexible electronics sufficiently malleable that they can be wrapped around a human hair. Embedded in contact lenses, the 1-micrometer-thick device could monitor intra-ocular pressure, which can lead to glaucoma.
The technique developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH; Zurich) involves building a membrane made of parylene, which is evaporated layer by layer until a conventional 2-in. wafer is formed. Standard methods are used to incorporate transistors, sensors, and conductors. The parylene film with the attached electronics is then released from the wafer.
In addition to being flexible—in lab tests, the film and electronics exhibited a 50-micrometer bending radius—the finished device could be transparent, depending on the material used for the transistors.