go contents

KIMM in MediaKIMM Press Release
[KIMM Press Release] Multimodal graphene-based e-textiles for the realization of customized e-textiles have been developed for the first time in the world
  • Created2023.10.26

Multimodal graphene-based e-textiles for the realization of customized e-textiles have been developed for the first time in the world 

-  KIMM-KAIST joint research team develops graphene-enabled e-textiles by ultrashort pulse laser processing

-  New technology is expected to be used for mass production of next-generation, customized e-textiles for healthcare, industrial and military use  

Multimodal* graphene-based electronic textiles (e-textiles) for the realization of customized e-textiles have been developed for the first time in the world. 

 *Multimodal means the process by which information is exchanged through various sensory interfaces such as visual sensation and auditory sensation.

TThe joint research team led by Principal Researcher Soongeun Kwon of the Department of Nano Manufacturing Technology of the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (President Sang-jin Park, hereinafter referred to as KIMM), an institute under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Science and ICT, and Professor Young-Jin Kim of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Engineering (President Kwang-hyung Lee, hereinafter referred to as KAIST) developed graphene-based, customized e-textiles for the first time in the world, and published the findings in “ACS Nano (IF = 18.027),” a renowned scientific journal.   

 *Title of publication: “Multimodal E-Textile Enabled by One-Step Maskless Patterning of Femtosecond-Laser-Induced Graphene on Nonwoven, Knit, and Woven Textiles (2023.10.10.)”

Instead of using toxic chemicals or optical masks for patterning, the joint research team used the laser direct patterning technology* to form laser-induced graphene (LIG) on e-textiles and successfully manufactured graphene-based e-textiles. 

 *Laser direct patterning technology refers to the technology used for making patterns for functional materials by irradiating laser onto the surface of the garment so that the materials of only the parts reached by the laser are converted. 

 *When high-power laser is irradiated to the surface of a polymer film or a garment, the light energy is converted into thermal energy on the surface and a carbon material is instantly fabricated on the part where the laser is irradiated. This is called laser-induced graphene (LIG), as the crystal structure of the fabricated carbon material is similar to graphene, a two-dimensional nanomaterial. 


Conventionally, e-textiles have been manufactured by coating fabrics with conductive ink to make electrically conductive textiles and then weaving them with generic fabrics, or by attaching a thin, functional layer onto generic fabrics. These methods have a low design flexibility and high process complexity. Moreover, harmful chemicals may be leaked during the manufacturing process, which places a limitation on mass production. 


By using the newly developed technology, high-quality LIG materials that have world-class electrical conductivity can be manufactured simply by irradiating laser onto the surface of fabrics. A major advantage of this technology is that e-textiles can be manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner, as neither the use of chemicals nor any additional processing is required. Meanwhile, the world-class electrical conductivity of LIG electrodes has been realized by applying the femtosecond laser processing technology*.

 *Femtosecond laser processing technology is the technology for fabricating materials using ultrashort laser that has an extremely short pulse width and a high peak power. Compared with other lasers, this technology causes almost no damage to the materials and, therefore, is useful for making high resolution patterns. 

The newly developed technology can be used in the future for manufacturing industrial and military clothes for personal health management and also for producing customized “smart” clothes in the healthcare sector. 

Principal Researcher Soongeun Kwon of the KIMM was quoted as saying, “This technology has been developed by analyzing the structures of generic fabrics and realizing them as graphene-based materials that have advanced features of optimal e-textiles.” He added, “This technology is significantly meaningful in that it allows for the mass production of customized e-textiles using an environment-friendly and simple method.”

Meanwhile, this research was carried out with the support of the project for the “development of nano-based “Omni-TEX” manufacturing technologies,” one of the KIMM’s basic projects.