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Micromachines 2018, 9(2), 43; doi:10.3390/mi9020043

Nanocomposite-Based Microstructured Piezoresistive Pressure Sensors for Low-Pressure Measurement Range

1
Multimodal Sensing and Micro-Manipulation Centre, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
2
Institute for Integrated Micro & Nano Systems (IMNS), School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3FF, UK
3
School of Textiles & Design, Heriot-Watt University, Galashiels TD7 4LF, UK
4
Queen’s Medical Research Institute, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK
5
Smart Systems Group, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract

Piezoresistive pressure sensors capable of detecting ranges of low compressive stresses have been successfully fabricated and characterised. The 5.5 × 5 × 1.6 mm3 sensors consist of a planar aluminium top electrode and a microstructured bottom electrode containing a two-by-two array of truncated pyramids with a piezoresistive composite layer sandwiched in-between. The responses of two different piezocomposite materials, a Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube (MWCNT)-elastomer composite and a Quantum Tunneling Composite (QTC), have been characterised as a function of applied pressure and effective contact area. The MWCNT piezoresistive composite-based sensor was able to detect pressures as low as 200 kPa. The QTC-based sensor was capable of detecting pressures as low as 50 kPa depending on the contact area of the bottom electrode. Such sensors could find useful applications requiring the detection of small compressive loads such as those encountered in haptic sensing or robotics. View Full-Text
Keywords: pressure sensor; piezoresistive sensor; carbon nanotubes; quantum tunneling composite pressure sensor; piezoresistive sensor; carbon nanotubes; quantum tunneling composite
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mitrakos, V.; Hands, P.J.W.; Cummins, G.; Macintyre, L.; Denison, F.C.; Flynn, D.; Desmulliez, M.P.Y. Nanocomposite-Based Microstructured Piezoresistive Pressure Sensors for Low-Pressure Measurement Range. Micromachines 2018, 9, 43.

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