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Laser-Processed Nature-Inspired Deformable Structures for Breathable and Reusable Electrophysiological Sensors toward Controllable Home Electronic Appliances and Psychophysiological Stress Monitoring

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posted on 25.07.2019, 13:05 by Hyeokju Chae, Hyuk-Jun Kwon, Yu-Kang Kim, YooChan Won, Donghan Kim, Hi-Joon Park, Sunkook Kim, Srinivas Gandla
Physiological monitoring through skin patch stretchable devices has received extensive attention because of their significant findings in many human–machine interaction applications. In this paper, we present novel nature-inspired, kiri-spider, serpentine structural designs to sustain mechanical deformations under complex stress environments. Strain-free mechanical structures involving stable high areal coverage (spiderweb), three-dimensional out-of-plane deformations (kirigami), and two-dimensional (2D) stretchable (2D spring) electrodes demonstrated high levels of mechanical loading under various strains, which were verified through theoretical and experimental studies. Alternative to conventional microfabrication procedures, sensors fabricated by a facile and rapid benchtop programmable laser machine enabled the realization of low-cost, high-throughput manufacture, followed by transferring procedures with a nearly 100% yield. For the first time, we demonstrated laser-processed thin (∼10 μm) flexible filamentary patterns embedded within the solution-processed polyimide to make it compatible with current flexible printed circuit board electronics. A patch-based sensor with thin, breathable, and sticky nature exhibited remarkable water permeability >20 g h–1 m–2 at a thickness of 250 μm. Moreover, the reusability of the sensor patch demonstrated the significance of our patch-based electrophysiological sensor. Furthermore, this wearable sensor was successfully implemented to control human–machine interfaces to operate home electronic appliances and monitor mental stress in a pilot study. These advances in novel mechanical architectures with good sensing performances provide new opportunities in wearable smart sensors.