Multifunctional Mechanical Sensors for Versatile Physiological Signal Detection.ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2018; 10(50):44173-44182AA
Recently, flexible and wearable mechanical sensors have attracted great attention because of their potential applications in monitoring various physiological signals. However, conventional mechanical sensors rarely have both pressure and strain sensing abilities that can meet the demands of both subtle and large human motion detection. Besides, the mechanical sensors with tunable sensitivity or measuring range are also essential for their practical applications. Herein, the graphene ink dip-coating method with merits of time saving, low cost, and large scale was used to fabricate the foam-structured graphene sensors with both pressure and strain sensing performance. Because of high elasticity of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) substrates and stacked graphene flakes, the tunable mechanical sensors exhibit a high gauge factor (GF) and large measuring range for specific human motion detection. The pressure sensor shows a GF of 2.02 kPa-1 with a pressure range up to 172 kPa, and the strain sensor displays a GF of 250 with a strain range up to 86%. On the one hand, various detections of subtle vital signals with small strain change were demonstrated by the pressure sensor because of its flexibility and high sensitivity. On another hand, the strain sensor with large strain change shows excellent ability to detect various large human motions including the bending of neck, finger, wrist, and knee. Interestingly, both the pressure sensor and strain sensor exhibit great capability for recognizing 26 letters written by hand. The working mechanism based on the contact area variation was also investigated by the morphology evolution and resistance model. We suppose that the foam-structured graphene mechanical sensors would be promising in wearable electronics for human healthcare and activity monitoring in the future.