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Transduction Mechanisms, Micro-Structuring Techniques, and Applications of Electronic Skin Pressure Sensors: A Review of Recent Advances

CENIMAT|i3N, Departamento de Ciência dos Materiais, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
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Sensors 2020, 20(16), 4407; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20164407
Received: 6 June 2020 / Revised: 30 July 2020 / Accepted: 4 August 2020 / Published: 7 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Sensor Materials)
Electronic skin (e-skin), which is an electronic surrogate of human skin, aims to recreate the multifunctionality of skin by using sensing units to detect multiple stimuli, while keeping key features of skin such as low thickness, stretchability, flexibility, and conformability. One of the most important stimuli to be detected is pressure due to its relevance in a plethora of applications, from health monitoring to functional prosthesis, robotics, and human-machine-interfaces (HMI). The performance of these e-skin pressure sensors is tailored, typically through micro-structuring techniques (such as photolithography, unconventional molds, incorporation of naturally micro-structured materials, laser engraving, amongst others) to achieve high sensitivities (commonly above 1 kPa−1), which is mostly relevant for health monitoring applications, or to extend the linearity of the behavior over a larger pressure range (from few Pa to 100 kPa), an important feature for functional prosthesis. Hence, this review intends to give a generalized view over the most relevant highlights in the development and micro-structuring of e-skin pressure sensors, while contributing to update the field with the most recent research. A special emphasis is devoted to the most employed pressure transduction mechanisms, namely capacitance, piezoelectricity, piezoresistivity, and triboelectricity, as well as to materials and novel techniques more recently explored to innovate the field and bring it a step closer to general adoption by society. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic skin; pressure sensors; micro-structuring; health monitoring; functional prosthesis; robotics; human-machine-interfaces electronic skin; pressure sensors; micro-structuring; health monitoring; functional prosthesis; robotics; human-machine-interfaces
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dos Santos, A.; Fortunato, E.; Martins, R.; Águas, H.; Igreja, R. Transduction Mechanisms, Micro-Structuring Techniques, and Applications of Electronic Skin Pressure Sensors: A Review of Recent Advances. Sensors 2020, 20, 4407.

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