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Elastic functional fiber for smart textiles and neural probes




3: Materials Science and Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Yoel Fink

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Juliette Alain: jalain@mit.edu

Project Description

Functional fibers, that contain functionality in a single yarn, are a key step for the development of smart fabrics. Their aspect ratio also opens possibilities for multiple applications such as biological implants or neural probes. However most of these functional fibers remains inelastic, which leads to failure in practical use. In this project, you will learn how to use thermal drawing to make functional fibers that have a micrometric cross-section with a highly controlled cross-sectional geometry and contain several type of materials (polymer, metals, semiconductors) while maintaining excellent elastic properties thanks to structural elasticity. This project will focus of creating elastic electrodes in an elastomeric cladding by modifying the draw process and adding mechanical steps as well as a control system to control the elongation that is built-in during the fabrication of the fiber, in order to control the final elasticity of the fiber. You will also mechanically characterize the so-obtained fiber and study the influence of the properties of the elastomeric cladding on the built-in elasticity. Further steps in the project will include incorporating these fibers in a traditional fabric weaving process and using these fibers as neural probes in the spinal cord.


A strong interest and preliminary knowledge in processing and control of mechanical processes are required as this is the core of the project. Previous experience with Matlab or LabVIEW will be preferred. Fundamentals in polymer mechanics and structural mechanics are preferred but not required.