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Nat Mater. 2012 Sep;11(9):795-801.

A flexible and highly sensitive strain-gauge sensor using reversible interlocking of nanofibres.

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World Class University Program on Multiscale Mechanical Design, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


Flexible skin-attachable strain-gauge sensors are an essential component in the development of artificial systems that can mimic the complex characteristics of the human skin. In general, such sensors contain a number of circuits or complex layered matrix arrays. Here, we present a simple architecture for a flexible and highly sensitive strain sensor that enables the detection of pressure, shear and torsion. The device is based on two interlocked arrays of high-aspect-ratio Pt-coated polymeric nanofibres that are supported on thin polydimethylsiloxane layers. When different sensing stimuli are applied, the degree of interconnection and the electrical resistance of the sensor changes in a reversible, directional manner with specific, discernible strain-gauge factors. The sensor response is highly repeatable and reproducible up to 10,000 cycles with excellent on/off switching behaviour. We show that the sensor can be used to monitor signals ranging from human heartbeats to the impact of a bouncing water droplet on a superhydrophobic surface.


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