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Tuning Strain Sensor Performance via Programmed Thin-Film Crack Evolution

  • Juan Zhu
    Juan Zhu
    Arias Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, United States
    More by Juan Zhu
  • Xiaodong Wu
    Xiaodong Wu
    Arias Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, United States
    More by Xiaodong Wu
  • Jasmine Jan
    Jasmine Jan
    Arias Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, United States
    More by Jasmine Jan
  • Shixuan Du
    Shixuan Du
    Institute of Physics & University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
    More by Shixuan Du
  • James Evans
    James Evans
    Arias Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, United States
    More by James Evans
  • , and 
  • Ana C. Arias*
    Ana C. Arias
    Arias Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, United States
    *Email: [email protected]
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Cite this: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 32, 38105–38113
Publication Date (Web):August 3, 2021
https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.1c10975
Copyright © 2021 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    Stretchable strain sensors with well-controlled sensitivity and stretchability are crucial for applications ranging from large deformation monitoring to subtle vibration detection. Here, based on single-metal material on the elastomer and one-pot evaporation fabrication method, we realize controlled strain sensor performance via a novel programable cracking technology. Specifically, through elastomeric substrate surface chemistry modification, the microcrack generation and morphology evolution of the strain sensing layer is controlled. This process allows for fine tunability of the cracked film morphology, resulting in strain sensing devices with a sensitivity gauge factor of over 10 000 and stretchability up to 100%. Devices with a frequency response up to 5.2 Hz and stability higher than 1000 cycles are reported. The reported strain sensors, tracking both subtle and drastic mechanical deformations, are demonstrated in healthcare devices, human–machine interaction, and smart-home applications.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsami.1c10975.

    • Summary of Figure of merit for our sensor and other crack-based sensors (Table S1); Water contact angle measurement (Figure S1); Additional SEM images and UV–vis spectra of Au films on PDMS (Figure S2); Additional microscope images of Au films on PDMS (Figure S3); Crack densities for Au films on PDMS (Figure S4); Mechanism illustrations for Au cracked-domain and cut-through cracks (Figure S5); Crack morphology evolution of the Au film on F-PDMS (Figure S6); Crack morphology evolution of the Au film on P-PDMS with 85° (θc) (Figure S7); Initial resistance of Au films respect to water contact angles of PDMS (Figure S8); Statistical information for the sensors’ performances (Figure S9); Maximum stretchability and maximum sensitivity for sensors (Figure S10); Performance of the sensor constructed by the Au film on plasma-treated PDMS for 15 s (Figure S11); Performance of the cracked-domain sensor during a cyclic test for 5000 cycles under an applied strain of 50% (Figure S12); Performance of the cut-through crack sensor during a cyclic test for 3000 cycles under an applied strain of 1% (Figure S13); and Schematics for the measurement setup (Figure S14) (PDF)

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 9 publications.

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