Skin-like pressure and strain sensors based on transparent elastic films of carbon nanotubes.Nat Nanotechnol. 2011 Oct 23; 6(12):788-92.NN
Transparent, elastic conductors are essential components of electronic and optoelectronic devices that facilitate human interaction and biofeedback, such as interactive electronics, implantable medical devices and robotic systems with human-like sensing capabilities. The availability of conducting thin films with these properties could lead to the development of skin-like sensors that stretch reversibly, sense pressure (not just touch), bend into hairpin turns, integrate with collapsible, stretchable and mechanically robust displays and solar cells, and also wrap around non-planar and biological surfaces such as skin and organs, without wrinkling. We report transparent, conducting spray-deposited films of single-walled carbon nanotubes that can be rendered stretchable by applying strain along each axis, and then releasing this strain. This process produces spring-like structures in the nanotubes that accommodate strains of up to 150% and demonstrate conductivities as high as 2,200 S cm(-1) in the stretched state. We also use the nanotube films as electrodes in arrays of transparent, stretchable capacitors, which behave as pressure and strain sensors.