Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei have developed a pliable high-strength transparent film and demonstrated how it can be used to create NFC circuits that can still be read even after being folded or bent and could be integrated into flexible electronic and optical devices.
Researchers developed the cellulose-based film after studying the microscopic structure of traditional Chinese calligraphy paper — known as Xuan paper — which is also highly flexible and tough.
“Inspired by the multiscale structure of Xuan paper, researchers prepared a high- performance, high-haze transparent film by assembling cellulose microfibres and cellulose nanofibres into a multiscale structure,” the university explains.
“This multiscale structure endowed the film with high strength, high toughness, high light transmittance and high haze, excellent flexibility and foldability and other excellent comprehensive properties, and could be mass produced through the roll-to-roll process.
“Owing to these outstanding characteristics, these advantages of the multiscale film make it an ideal film material for applications in precision optical devices and flexible electronic devices.
“The researchers used the multiscale film as a substrate to fabricate a near field communication (NFC) circuit. The film integrated with the NFC circuit not only exhibited high transparency and high haze, but also had excellent flexibility.
“Even if the film was severely bent, the information written in the film could still be read quickly and accurately by the smartphone.”