Transparent, flexible, and stretchable WS2 based humidity sensors for electronic skin†
Skin-mountable chemical sensors using flexible chemically sensitive nanomaterials are of great interest for electronic skin (e-skin) application. To build these sensors, the emerging atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) layered semiconductors could be a good material candidate. Herein, we show that a large-area WS2 film synthesized by sulfurization of a tungsten film exhibits high humidity sensing performance both in natural flat and high mechanical flexible states (bending curvature down to 5 mm). The conductivity of as-synthesized WS2 increases sensitively over a wide relative humidity range (up to 90%) with fast response and recovery times in a few seconds. By using graphene as electrodes and thin polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) as substrate, a transparent, flexible, and stretchable humidity sensor was fabricated. This senor can be well laminated onto skin and shows stable water moisture sensing behaviors in the undeformed relaxed state as well as under compressive and tensile loadings. Furthermore, its high sensing performance enables real-time monitoring of human breath, indicating a potential mask-free breath monitoring for healthcare application. We believe that such a skin-activity compatible WS2 humidity sensor may shed light on developing low power consumption wearable chemical sensors based on 2D semiconductors.