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Highly Sensitive, Flexible, and Wearable Pressure Sensor Based on a Giant Piezocapacitive Effect of Three-Dimensional Microporous Elastomeric Dielectric Layer

Kwon, Donguk, Lee, Tae-Ik, Shim, Jongmin, Ryu, Seunghwa, Kim, Min Seong, Kim, Seunghwan, Kim, Taek-Soo, Park, Inkyu
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2016 v.8 no.26 pp. 16922-16931
humans, micropores, monitoring, porous media, robots
We report a flexible and wearable pressure sensor based on the giant piezocapacitive effect of a three-dimensional (3-D) microporous dielectric elastomer, which is capable of highly sensitive and stable pressure sensing over a large tactile pressure range. Due to the presence of micropores within the elastomeric dielectric layer, our piezocapacitive pressure sensor is highly deformable by even very small amounts of pressure, leading to a dramatic increase in its sensitivity. Moreover, the gradual closure of micropores under compression increases the effective dielectric constant, thereby further enhancing the sensitivity of the sensor. The 3-D microporous dielectric layer with serially stacked springs of elastomer bridges can cover a much wider pressure range than those of previously reported micro-/nanostructured sensing materials. We also investigate the applicability of our sensor to wearable pressure-sensing devices as an electronic pressure-sensing skin in robotic fingers as well as a bandage-type pressure-sensing device for pulse monitoring at the human wrist. Finally, we demonstrate a pressure sensor array pad for the recognition of spatially distributed pressure information on a plane. Our sensor, with its excellent pressure-sensing performance, marks the realization of a true tactile pressure sensor presenting highly sensitive responses to the entire tactile pressure range, from ultralow-force detection to high weights generated by human activity.