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An interlocked flexible piezoresistive sensor with 3D micropyramidal structures for electronic skin applications

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Abstract

The development of flexible pressure sensors with human-like sensing capabilities is an emerging field due to their wide range of applications from human robot interactions to wearable electronics. Piezoresistive sensors respond to externally induced mechanical stimuli through changes in their electrical resistance. The current state-of-the-art piezoresistive sensors are mainly constructed via dispersion of conductive nanofillers in an elastomer matrix making their performance strongly reliable on the degree of dispersion. Alternatively, changes in the contact area of conductive elastomers result in higher sensitivity and more tunable variables. Herein, an interlocked sensor comprising two flexible layers of 3D pyramidal microstructures is fabricated with a thin layer of carbon nanotubes deposited onto the micropatterns. The introduced array of micropyramids with varying height and pitch sizes allows for higher changes in the contact area upon applying an external load. The results indicate that the height and pitch of the structures together with a newly defined variable, the critical dimension, affect the sensor's sensitivity. An optimal performance is observed for minimized values of the critical dimension. Furthermore, to verify the obtained results, a finite-element-assisted analytical constriction-resistance model is used to capture the piezoresistive response of the sensor. The theoretical results show the high tracking ability of their experimental counterparts.

Graphical abstract: An interlocked flexible piezoresistive sensor with 3D micropyramidal structures for electronic skin applications

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 May 2018, accepted on 19 Jul 2018 and first published on 19 Jul 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00897C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018, Advance Article
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    An interlocked flexible piezoresistive sensor with 3D micropyramidal structures for electronic skin applications

    N. Khalili, X. Shen and H. E. Naguib, Soft Matter, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00897C

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