ECE Colloquium Series: Carmel Majidi: Soft Matter Transducers with Liquid Metal


Phillips Hall 233


ECE Colloquium Series presents:

Carmel Majidi
Carnegie Mellon University

Soft Matter Transducers with Liquid Metal

Progress in soft lithography and soft materials integration have led to extraordinary new classes of soft-matter sensors, circuits, and transducers.  These material technologies are composed almost entirely out of soft matter – elastomers, gels, and conductive fluids like eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) – and represent the building blocks for machines and electronics that are flexible, stretchable, and have low mechanical stiffness.  Because of their intrinsic compliance and elasticity, such devices can be incorporated into soft, biologically-inspired robots or be worn on the body and operate continuously without impairing natural body motion.  In this talk, I will review recent contributions from my research group in creating soft multifunctional materials for wearable electronics and soft robotics using these emerging practices in “soft-matter engineering.”  In particular, I will focus on incorporating EGaIn liquid metal into elastomer composites and microfluidic architectures for highly stretchable digital electronics, wearable energy harvesting, and electrically-responsive actuation.  When possible, I will relate the design and operation of these soft-matter technologies to underlying principles of soft matter physics and mechanics.  In addition to presenting my own research in the field, I will also briefly review broader efforts and emerging challenges in utilizing liquid metal for applications in wearable electronics and soft robotics.

Carmel Majidi is the Clarence H. Adamson Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where he leads the Soft Machines Lab. His research is focused on the development of new classes of soft multifunctional materials for stretchable electronics, sensing, and muscle-like actuation.  The purpose of these novel materials is to enable wearable computing and bio-inspired robotics that intrinsically match the mechanical properties of natural biological tissue.  Prof. Majidi has received Young Investigator awards from DARPA, ONR, AFOSR, and NASA all for work related to soft-matter robotics and engineering.  Prior to joining the faculty at CMU, Prof. Majidi had postdoctoral appointments at Harvard University and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials and received his PhD from UC Berkeley.