American Chemical Society
am2c19654_si_004.mp4 (5.28 MB)

Soft, Super-Elastic, All-Polymer Piezoelectric Elastomer for Artificial Electronic Skin

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posted on 2022-12-26, 10:04 authored by Youjun Guan, Lingjie Tu, Kunyu Ren, Xinchang Kang, Yu Tian, Weicheng Deng, Peng Yu, Chengyun Ning, Rumin Fu, Guoxin Tan, Lei Zhou
Piezoelectric sensors are widely used in wearable devices to mimic the functions of human skin. However, it is considerably challenging to develop soft piezoelectric materials that can exhibit high sensitivity, stretchability, super elasticity, and suitable modulus. In this study, a soft skin-like piezoelectric polymer elastomer composed of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and a novel elastic substrate polyacrylonitrile is prepared by combining the radical polymerization and freeze-drying processes. Dipole–dipole interaction results in the phase transition of PVDF (α phase to β phase), which enhances the electrical and mechanical performances. Thus, we achieve a high piezoelectric coefficient (d33max = 63 pC/N), good stretchability (211.3–259.3%), super compressibility (subjected to 99% compression strain without cracking), and super elasticity (100% recovery after extreme compression) simultaneously for the elastomer. The soft composite elastomer produces excellent electrical signal output (Vocmax = 253 mV) and responds rapidly (15 ms) to stress-induced polarization effects. In addition, the elastomer-based sensor accurately detects various physiological signals such as gestures, throat vibrations, and pulse waves. The developed elastomers exhibit excellent mechanical properties and high sensitivity, which helps facilitate their application as artificial electronic skin to sense subtle external pressure in real time.