American Chemical Society
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Flexible and Transparent Strain Sensors with Embedded Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Meshes

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-11-03, 00:00 authored by Bangbang Nie, Xiangming Li, Jinyou Shao, Xin Li, Hongmiao Tian, Duorui Wang, Qiang Zhang, Bingheng Lu
Strain sensors combining high sensitivity with good transparency and flexibility would be of great usefulness in smart wearable/flexible electronics. However, the fabrication of such strain sensors is still challenging. In this study, new strain sensors with embedded multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) meshes in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films were designed and tested. The strain sensors showed elevated optical transparency of up to 87% and high sensitivity with a gauge factor of 1140 at a small strain of 8.75%. The gauge factors of the sensors were also found relatively stable since they did not obviously change after 2000 stretching/releasing cycles. The sensors were tested to detect motion in the human body, such as wrist bending, eye blinking, mouth phonation, and pulse, and the results were shown to be satisfactory. Furthermore, the fabrication of the strain sensor consisting of mechanically blading MWCNTs aqueous dispersions into microtrenches of prestructured PDMS films was straightforward, was low cost, and resulted in high yield. All these features testify to the great potential of these sensors in future real applications.