3D-conductive pathway written on leather for highly sensitive and durable electronic whisker†
Printing methods are potential strategies to realize the fabrication of flexible electronics on a large scale with low cost, and have been widely adopted to fabricate flexible electronic whiskers (e-whiskers). However, the sensors fabricated by these methods are typically fragile to surface damage as their conductive pattern is exposed on the surface. Here, conductive ink formed by zero-dimensional conductive nanomaterials, is used to write on leather to fabricate a leather-based e-whisker. Owing to the porosity of leather, the ink can permeate into the leather and form a three-dimensional conductive pathway. The good mechanical properties and special structure of leather enable the sensor to have good performance in tape tests, abrasion tests and washing tests. Furthermore, when scanning the surface of a substrate, the leather-based e-whisker is sensitive enough to detect a height difference of 50 μm, which makes it capable of surface texture detection, spatial distribution mapping, and wind mapping, etc.