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Illinois researchers are using plastic that shrinks when heated to pack nanowires together for electronics applications.

Shrinky Dinks close the gap for nanowires

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:July 1, 2014

Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are using Shrinky Dinks, plastic that shrinks under high heat, to close the gap between nanowires in an array to make them useful for high-performance electronics applications.

Published Date: July 1, 2014


Tiny walking bio-bots are powered by muscle cells and controlled by an electric field.

Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:June 30, 2014

Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function.

Published Date: June 30, 2014


Illinois researchers have developed materials that not only heal, but regenerate. The restorative material is delivered through two, isolated fluid streams (dyed red and blue). The liquid immediately gels and later hardens, resulting in recovery of the entire damaged region. This image is halfway through the restoration process.

Regenerating plastic grows back after damage

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:May 8, 2014

Looking at a smooth sheet of plastic in one University of Illinois laboratory, no one would guess that an impact had recently blasted a hole through it. Illinois researchers have developed materials that not only heal, but regenerate. Until now, self-repairing materials could only bond tiny microscopic cracks. The new regenerating materials fill in large cracks and holes by regrowing material.

Published Date: May 8, 2014


Thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring. The new device was developed by John A. Rogers of Illinois and Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University.

Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:April 3, 2014

Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring.

Published Date: April 3, 2014


A close-up of an elastic polymer that was cut in two and healed overnight.

Off-the-shelf materials lead to self-healing polymers

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 4, 2014

Look out, super glue and paint thinner. Thanks to new dynamic materials developed at the University of Illinois, removable paint and self-healing plastics soon could be household products.

Published Date: February 4, 2014