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July 05, 2010

Soft capacitor fibers using conductive polymers for electronic textiles

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Arxiv - A soft and flexible conductive polymer fiber has been made with a capacitance some 1000 times greater than an equivalent co-axial cable.

A novel, highly flexible, conductive polymer-based fiber with high electric capacitance is reported. In its crossection the fiber features a periodic sequence of hundreds of conductive and isolating plastic layers positioned around metallic electrodes. The fiber is fabricated using fiber drawing method, where a multi-material macroscopic preform is drawn into a sub-millimeter capacitor fiber in a single fabrication step. Several kilometres of fibers can be obtained from a single preform with fiber diameters ranging between 500um -1000um. A typical measured capacitance of our fibers is 60-100 nF/m and it is independent of the fiber diameter. For comparison, a coaxial cable of the comparable dimensions would have only ~0.06nF/m capacitance. Analysis of the fiber frequency response shows that in its simplest interrogation mode the capacitor fiber has a transverse resistance of 5 kOhm/L, which is inversely proportional to the fiber length L and is independent of the fiber diameter. Softness of the fiber materials, absence of liquid electrolyte in the fiber structure, ease of scalability to large production volumes, and high capacitance of our fibers make them interesting for various smart textile applications ranging from distributed sensing to energy storage


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