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Small. 2018 Aug;14(35):e1801657. doi: 10.1002/smll.201801657. Epub 2018 Jul 29.

Natural Plant Materials as Dielectric Layer for Highly Sensitive Flexible Electronic Skin.

Wan Y1,2, Qiu Z1, Huang J1,2, Yang J1, Wang Q1, Lu P1,2, Yang J1, Zhang J1,3, Huang S1,3, Wu Z1,4, Guo CF1.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, 518055, China.
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, 150001, China.
Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, 518055, China.
State Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacturing Equipment and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430074, China.


Nature has long offered human beings with useful materials. Herein, plant materials including flowers and leaves have been directly used as the dielectric material in flexible capacitive electronic skin (e-skin), which simply consists of a dried flower petal or leaf sandwiched by two flexible electrodes. The plant material is a 3D cell wall network which plays like a compressible metamaterial that elastically collapses upon pressing plus some specific surface structures, and thus the device can sensitively respond to pressure. The device works over a broad-pressure range from 0.6 Pa to 115 kPa with a maximum sensitivity of 1.54 kPa-1 , and shows high stability over 5000 cyclic pressings or bends. The natural-material-based e-skin has been applied in touch sensing, motion monitoring, gas flow detection, and the spatial distribution of pressure. As the foam-like structure is ubiquitous in plants, a general strategy for a green, cost-effective, and scalable approach to make flexible e-skins is offered here.


electronic skins; flexible pressure sensors; microstructures; natural materials; rose petals


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