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Polymers 2018, 10(6), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10060575

A Sandwich-Structured Piezoresistive Sensor with Electrospun Nanofiber Mats as Supporting, Sensing, and Packaging Layers

1,2
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1,2
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1,2
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1,2
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3,4
,
3,4
and
1,2,*
1
Chongqing Key Laboratory for Advanced Materials & Technologies of Clean Energies, Southwest University, 1 Tiansheng Road, Chongqing 400715, China
2
Institute for Clean Energy & Advanced Materials, Faculty of Materials & Energy, Southwest University, 1 Tiansheng Road, Chongqing 400715, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
4
Chongqing Engineering and Technology Research Center for Novel Silk Materials, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 20 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Materials and Systems)
Full-Text   |   PDF [4706 KB, uploaded 23 May 2018]   |  

Abstract

Electrospun nanofiber mats have been used as sensing elements to construct piezoresistive devices due to their large surface area and high porosity. However, they have not been utilized as skin-contact supporting layers to package conductive nanofiber networks for the fabrication of piezoresistive sensors. In this work, we developed a sandwich-structured pressure sensor, which can sensitively monitor human motions and vital signs, with electrospun nanofiber mats as supporting, sensing, and packaging layers. The nanofiber mats were prepared by electrospinning with biocompatible poly (l-lactide) (PLA), silk fibroin (SF), and collagen (COL) as raw materials. The synthesized PLA–SF–COL mat possesses a non-woven structure with a fiber diameter of 122 ± 28 nm and a film thickness of 37 ± 5.3 μm. Polypyrrole (PPy) nanoparticles were grown in-situ on the mat to form a conductive layer. After stacking the pristine and conductive mats to form a PLA–SF–COL mat/(PPy-coated mat)2 structure, another layer was electrospun to pack the multilayers for the construction of a sandwich-structured piezoresistive sensor. The as-prepared device can sensitively detect external pressures caused by coin loading and finger tapping/pressing. It can also tolerate more than 600 times of pressing without affecting its sensing capability. The human body-attached experiments further demonstrate that the sensor could real-time monitor finger/arm bending, arterial pulse, respiration rate, and speaking-caused throat vibration. The electrospinning-based fabrication may be used as a facile and low-cost strategy to produce flexible piezoresistive sensors with excellent skin-compatibility and great pressure sensing capability. View Full-Text
Keywords: piezoresistive sensor; electrospinning; wearable electronics; human motion; vital sign piezoresistive sensor; electrospinning; wearable electronics; human motion; vital sign
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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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Zhao, Z.; Li, B.; Xu, L.; Qiao, Y.; Wang, F.; Xia, Q.; Lu, Z. A Sandwich-Structured Piezoresistive Sensor with Electrospun Nanofiber Mats as Supporting, Sensing, and Packaging Layers. Polymers 2018, 10, 575.

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