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University of Houston researchers have developed a new stretchable and transparent electrical conductor, bringing the potential for a fully foldable cell phone or a flat-screen television that can be folded and carried under your arm closer to reality.

Zhifeng Ren, a physicist at the University of Houston and principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity, said there long has been research on portable electronics that could be rolled up or otherwise easily transported. But a material that is transparent and has both the necessary flexibility and conductivity has proved elusive – some materials have two of the components, but until now, finding one with all three has remained difficult.

The gold nanomesh electrodes produced by Ren and his research associates Chuan Fei Guo and Tianyi Sun at UH, along with two colleagues at Harvard University, provide good electrical conductivity as well as transparency and flexibility, the researchers report in a paper published online Tuesday in Nature Communications.

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