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Bioinspired, High-Sensitivity Mechanical Sensors Realized with Hexagonal Microcolumnar Arrays Coated with Ultrasonic-Sprayed Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

  • Changyoon Jeong
    Changyoon Jeong
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
  • Hangil Ko
    Hangil Ko
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
    More by Hangil Ko
  • Hyun-Tak Kim
    Hyun-Tak Kim
    Department of Chemistry, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
    More by Hyun-Tak Kim
  • Kahyun Sun
    Kahyun Sun
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
    More by Kahyun Sun
  • Tae-Hyuk Kwon*
    Tae-Hyuk Kwon
    Department of Chemistry, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
    *Email: [email protected] (T.H.K.).
  • Hoon Eui Jeong*
    Hoon Eui Jeong
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
    *Email: [email protected] (H.E.J.).
  • , and 
  • Young-Bin Park*
    Young-Bin Park
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
    *Email: [email protected] (Y.-B.P.).
Cite this: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 16, 18813–18822
Publication Date (Web):April 1, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.9b23370
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    The development of a flexible electronic skin (e-skin) highly sensitive to multimodal vibrations and a specialized sensing ability is of great interest for a plethora of applications, such as tactile sensors for robots, seismology, healthcare, and wearable electronics. Here, we present an e-skin design characterized by a bioinspired, microhexagonal structure coated with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) using an ultrasonic spray method. We have demonstrated the outstanding performances of the device in terms of the capability to detect both static and dynamic mechanical stimuli including pressure, shear displacement, and bending using the principles of piezoresistivity. Because of the hexagonal microcolumnar array, whose contact area changes according to the mechanical stimuli applied, the interlock-optimized geometry shows an enhanced sensitivity. This produces an improved ability to discriminate the different mechanical stimuli that might be applied. Moreover, we show that our e-skins can detect, discriminate, and monitor various intensities of different external and internal vibrations, which is a useful asset for various applications, such as seismology, smart phones, wearable human skins (voice monitoring), etc.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsami.9b23370.

    • Micro droplet size of ultrasonic spray calculation; schematic illustration of the ultrasonic spray method for coating in overall patterned shapes and uniformly coated with sidewall of hexagonal structure in SEM image; SEM images of different height size of hexagonal structured PDMS micro pillar arrays, of circular-shaped PDMS micropillar arrayys, and of SWCNT-sprayed circular micropillar arrays; theoretical and numerical analysis of the stress distribution and contact area between the interlocked circle and hexagonal structures under normal and shear forces; hysteresis stress–strain curves in compression; sheet resistance of films SWCNT-sprayed hexagonal micropillar arrys with vairous heights; resistance change in the interlocked sensor with hexagonal structure under progressively increasing strain from 0 to 5% (low strain) in tensile and compressive bending mode; cyclic stability test of our sensor under repetitive (1000 cycles) compressive strain, shear displacement, and curvature at a frequency of 1 Hz; bending curvature and shear displacement-resolved measurements of the output signal as a function of the applied ∼0.1752 mm–1 bending curvature and ∼0.1 mm shear displacement at different frequencies (1, 2, and 3.6 Hz); water droplet detection capability of e-skins showing the different weight of small sprinkle water on the e-skin (PDF)

    • Movie S1 showing that e-skins with direct SWCNT contact between interlocked geometries are capable of detecting not only a small water droplet but also the process of sprinkling small amounts of water (AVI)

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