Flexible Strain Sensors Fabricated by Meniscus-Guided Printing of Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites.ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Jun 13; 10(23):19999-20005.AA
Printed strain sensors have promising potential as a human-machine interface (HMI) for health-monitoring systems, human-friendly wearable interactive systems, and smart robotics. Herein, flexible strain sensors based on carbon nanotube (CNT)-polymer composites were fabricated by meniscus-guided printing using a CNT ink formulated from multiwall nanotubes (MWNTs) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP); the ink was suitable for micropatterning on nonflat (or curved) substrates and even three-dimensional structures. The printed strain sensors exhibit a reproducible response to applied tensile and compressive strains, having gauge factors of 13.07 under tensile strain and 12.87 under compressive strain; they also exhibit high stability during ∼1500 bending cycles. Applied strains induce a contact rearrangement of the MWNTs and a change in the tunneling distance between them, resulting in a change in the resistance (Δ R/ R0) of the sensor. Printed MWNT-PVP sensors were used in gloves for finger movement detection; these can be applied to human motion detection and remote control of robotic equipment. Our results demonstrate that meniscus-guided printing using CNT inks can produce highly flexible, sensitive, and inexpensive HMI devices.