Stretchable Thin Film Mechanical-Strain-Gated Switches and Logic Gate Functions Based on a Soft Tunneling Barrier

Soosang Chae, Won Jin Choi, Ivan Fotev, Eva Bittrich, Petra Uhlmann, Mathias Schubert, Denys Makarov, Jens Wagner, Alexej Pashkin, Andreas Fery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mechanical-strain-gated switches are cornerstone components of material-embedded circuits that perform logic operations without using conventional electronics. This technology requires a single material system to exhibit three distinct functionalities: strain-invariant conductivity and an increase or decrease of conductivity upon mechanical deformation. Herein, mechanical-strain-gated electric switches based on a thin-film architecture that features an insulator-to-conductor transition when mechanically stretched are demonstrated. The conductivity changes by nine orders of magnitude over a wide range of tunable working strains (as high as 130%). The approach relies on a nanometer-scale sandwiched bilayer Au thin film with an ultrathin poly(dimethylsiloxane) elastomeric barrier layer; applied strain alters the electron tunneling currents through the barrier. Mechanical-force-controlled electric logic circuits are achieved by realizing strain-controlled basic (AND and OR) and universal (NAND and NOR) logic gates in a single system. The proposed material system can be used to fabricate material-embedded logics of arbitrary complexity for a wide range of applications including soft robotics, wearable/implantable electronics, human–machine interfaces, and Internet of Things.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2104769
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 14 2021


  • logic gates
  • strain-gated electric switches
  • stretchable circuits
  • thin films
  • tunneling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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