Flexible and transparent strain sensors based on super-aligned carbon nanotube films†
Highly flexible and transparent strain sensors are fabricated by directly coating super-aligned carbon nanotube (SACNT) films on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates. The fabrication process is simple, low cost, and favorable for industrial scalability. The SACNT/PDMS strain sensors present a high sensing range of 400%, a fast response of less than 98 ms, and a low creep of 4% at 400% strain. The SACNT/PDMS strain sensors can withstand 5000 stretching–releasing cycles at 400% strain. Moreover, the SACNT/PDMS strain sensors are transparent with 80% transmittance at 550 nm. In situ microscopic observation clarifies that the surface morphology of the SACNT film exhibits a reversible change during the stretching and releasing processes and thus its electrical conductance is able to fully recover to the original value after the loading–unloading cycles. The SACNT/PDMS strain sensors have the advantages of a wide sensing range, fast response, low creep, transparency, and excellent durability, and thus show great potential in wearable devices to monitor fast and large-scale movements without affecting the appearance of the devices.