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Nano Lett. 2016 Jan 13;16(1):721-7. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b04549. Epub 2015 Dec 29.

Highly Stretchable Fully-Printed CNT-Based Electrochemical Sensors and Biofuel Cells: Combining Intrinsic and Design-Induced Stretchability.

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Department of NanoEngineering, University of California, San Diego , La Jolla, California 92093, United States.


We present the first example of an all-printed, inexpensive, highly stretchable CNT-based electrochemical sensor and biofuel cell array. The synergistic effect of utilizing specially tailored screen printable stretchable inks that combine the attractive electrical and mechanical properties of CNTs with the elastomeric properties of polyurethane as a binder along with a judiciously designed free-standing serpentine pattern enables the printed device to possess two degrees of stretchability. Owing to these synergistic design and nanomaterial-based ink effects, the device withstands extremely large levels of strains (up to 500% strain) with negligible effect on its structural integrity and performance. This represents the highest stretchability offered by a printed device reported to date. Extensive electrochemical characterization of the printed device reveal that repeated stretching, torsional twisting, and indenting stress has negligible impact on its electrochemical properties. The wide-range applicability of this platform to realize highly stretchable CNT-based electrochemical sensors and biofuel cells has been demonstrated by fabricating and characterizing potentiometric ammonium sensor, amperometric enzyme-based glucose sensor, enzymatic glucose biofuel cell, and self-powered biosensor. Highly stretchable printable multianalyte sensor, multifuel biofuel cell, or any combination thereof can thus be realized using the printed CNT array. Such combination of intrinsically stretchable printed nanomaterial-based electrodes and strain-enduring design patterns holds considerable promise for creating an attractive class of inexpensive multifunctional, highly stretchable printed devices that satisfy the requirements of diverse healthcare and energy fields wherein resilience toward extreme mechanical deformations is mandatory.


Printed electronics; biofuel cells; carbon nanotubes; electrochemical sensors; stretchable devices

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