Research ArticleENGINEERING

Rubbery electronics and sensors from intrinsically stretchable elastomeric composites of semiconductors and conductors

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Science Advances  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 9, e1701114
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701114
  • Fig. 1 Intrinsically stretchable electronic materials.

    (A) Schematic illustrations of a sensor (upper) and a TFT (lower), consisting of AuNP-AgNW conductors, P3HT-NF/PDMS semiconductor composite, and ion gel dielectric vertically stacked on a PDMS substrate. (B) Schematic illustrations (upper) and SEM images (lower) of the AgNWs before (left) and after (right) the galvanic replacement process to conformally coat AuNPs on exposed AgNWs. (C) Sheet resistance (ohms/□) of the AuNP-AgNW/PDMS conductor under different levels of mechanical strain. The SEM images of the stretched conductor are shown at the bottom. (D) AFM surface topography (left) and phase mode (right) images of the P3HT-NF/PDMS film. (E) AFM phase mode images of P3HT-NF/PDMS coated on a PDMS substrate upon uniaxial stretching. Yellow arrows indicate P3HT-NF rupture. (F) Photographs of the P3HT-NF/PDMS film on a thin PDMS substrate under various forms of mechanical deformation. (G) Photographs of free-standing ion gel dielectric before and after stretching.

  • Fig. 2 Intrinsically stretchable rubbery transistors.

    (A) Exploded schematic illustration of the rubbery TFT. (B) Photograph of the TFT. (C) SEM image of the source, drain electrodes, and channel of the TFT. (D and E) Transfer and output curves of the TFT without any mechanical strain. (F and G) Transfer curves of the TFTs under different levels of mechanical strain along and perpendicular to the channel length directions. (H and I) μFE and Vth of the TFTs under different levels of mechanical strain along and perpendicular to the channel length directions.

  • Fig. 3 Rubbery strain, pressure, and temperature sensors.

    (A) Exploded schematic illustration of the strain sensor. (B) Photographs of the sensors under different levels of mechanical strain. (C) Measured electrical resistance of the strain sensor under different levels of mechanical strain along the channel length direction (black) and perpendicular to the channel length direction (blue). (D) Relative change of the resistance (ΔR/Ro) under cyclic stretching and releasing. (E) GF of the strain sensor with respect to the different strain. (F) Relative electrical resistance (R/Ro) change of the pressure sensor with respect to time under different levels of pressure. (G) Relative electrical resistance change of the pressure sensor under a loading (red) and unloading (blue) cycle. (H) Relative electrical resistance change of the temperature sensor with respect to the different temperature.

  • Fig. 4 Intrinsically stretchable rubbery electronics–based robotic skins.

    (A) Photographs of a robotic hand with intrinsically stretchable rubbery sensors. (B) Photograph of strain sensors located on the hinges of a robotic finger (left, top view) and overlapped photograph of the robotic finger with different bending angles from 0° to 90° (right, side view). (C) Electrical resistance of the strain sensor under different degrees of bending. (D) Demonstration of using an array of strain sensors on a robotic hand to translate sign language alphabets. The inset schematics of the colored hand are electrical resistance values that correspond to (C) for the corresponding hand gestures (see the Supplementary Materials and figs. S11 and S12 for details). (E) Photographs of the robotic hand with the temperature sensors touching hot (left) and cold (right) cups. (F) Measured sensor responses while the hand with skin touched the hot and cold cups alternatively.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/3/9/e1701114/DC1

    Calculation of μFE and Vth

    Optimized P3HT weight composition in P3HT-NF/PDMS composites

    Calculation of temperature coefficient of resistance

    Calculation of Hertzian contact pressure

    Sign language translation program

    fig. S1. Fabrication of AuNP-AgNW by using a galvanic replacement process.

    fig. S2. Fabrication and deformed states of the elastomeric composite semiconductor.

    fig. S3. Percolation behavior of the P3HT-NF/PDMS composite semiconductor.

    fig. S4. The composites with different weight compositions of P3HT and PDMS.

    fig. S5. Lifetime of the elastomeric composite conductor and semiconductor.

    fig. S6. Fabrication steps of the intrinsically stretchable TFTs and sensors.

    fig. S7. Thickness of the rubbery TFT and P3HT-NF/PDMS semiconductor composite.

    fig. S8. P3HT-NF/PDMS composite–based TFTs with different electrodes.

    fig. S9. Performances of TFTs based on p-P3HT/PDMS and P3HT-NF/PDMS as semiconducting channels.

    fig. S10. TFT performances with respect to mechanical strain.

    fig. S11. Electrical resistance response of the strain sensor under a given hand gesture.

    fig. S12. The sign language translation program.

    References (46, 47)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Calculation of μFE and Vth
    • Optimized P3HT weight composition in P3HT-NF/PDMS composites
    • Calculation of temperature coefficient of resistance
    • Calculation of Hertzian contact pressure
    • Sign language translation program
    • fig. S1. Fabrication of AuNP-AgNW by using a galvanic replacement process.
    • fig. S2. Fabrication and deformed states of the elastomeric composite semiconductor.
    • fig. S3. Percolation behavior of the P3HT-NF/PDMS composite semiconductor.
    • fig. S4. The composites with different weight compositions of P3HT and PDMS.
    • fig. S5. Lifetime of the elastomeric composite conductor and semiconductor.
    • fig. S6. Fabrication steps of the intrinsically stretchable TFTs and sensors.
    • fig. S7. Thickness of the rubbery TFT and P3HT-NF/PDMS semiconductor composite.
    • fig. S8. P3HT-NF/PDMS composite–based TFTs with different electrodes.
    • fig. S9. Performances of TFTs based on p-P3HT/PDMS and P3HT-NF/PDMS as semiconducting channels.
    • fig. S10. TFT performances with respect to mechanical strain.
    • fig. S11. Electrical resistance response of the strain sensor under a given hand gesture.
    • fig. S12. The sign language translation program.
    • References (46, 47)

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