Infoscience

Journal article

Photopatterning the mechanical properties of polydimethylsiloxane films

Silicone rubber films with graded and localized mechanical properties are prepared using two-part polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer, photoinhibitor compounds and conventional photolithography. First the un-cross-linked PDMS is mixed with benzophenone. The resulting positive photosensitive material is then exposed through a mask to UV light from a conventional mask aligner. Cross-linking of the UV exposed elastomer is inhibited, leading to softer regions than the surrounding unexposed matrix. By empirically fitting the nonlinear, hyperelastic Mooney-Rivlin model to experimentally measured stress-strain curves we determine the equivalent tensile modulus (E) of the rubber film. We show the PDMS tensile modulus can then be adjusted in the 0.65-2.9 MPa range by decreasing the UV exposure dose (from 24 000 to 0 mJ cm(-2)). Further, using a patterned UV mask, we can locally define differential regions of tensile modulus within a single PDMS rubber film. We demonstrate that "hard islands" (E approximate to 2.9 MPa) of 100 mu m minimum diameter can be patterned within a 100-mu m-thick, single "soft" PDMS rubber membrane (E approximate to 0.65 MPa) cured at 150 degrees C for 24 h. Thin gold film conductors patterned directly onto the photopatterned PDMS are stretchable and withstand uniaxial cycling to tens of percent strain. The mechanically "pixellated" PDMS rubber film provides an improved substrate with built-in strain relief for stretchable electronics. (C)2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3552917]

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