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Binary Spiky/Spherical Nanoparticle Films with Hierarchical Micro/Nanostructures for High-Performance Flexible Pressure Sensors

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-12-21, 08:14 authored by Young-Ryul Kim, Minsoo P. Kim, Jonghwa Park, Youngoh Lee, Sujoy Kumar Ghosh, Jinyoung Kim, Donghee Kang, Hyunhyub Ko
Flexible pressure sensors have been widely explored for their versatile applications in electronic skins, wearable healthcare monitoring devices, and robotics. However, fabrication of sensors with characteristics such as high sensitivity, linearity, and simple fabrication process remains a challenge. Therefore, we propose herein a highly flexible and sensitive pressure sensor based on a conductive binary spiky/spherical nanoparticle film that can be fabricated by a simple spray-coating method. The sea-urchin-shaped spiky nanoparticles are based on the core–shell structures of spherical silica nanoparticles decorated with conductive polyaniline spiky shells. The simple spray coating of binary spiky/spherical nanoparticles enables the formation of uniform conductive nanoparticle-based films with hierarchical nano/microstructures. The two differently shaped particles-based films (namely sea-urchin-shaped and spherical) when interlocked face-to-face to form a bilayer structure can be used as a highly sensitive piezoresistive pressure sensor. Our optimized pressure sensor exhibits high sensitivity (17.5 kPa–1) and linear responsivity over a wide pressure range (0.008–120 kPa), owing to the effects of stress concentration and gradual deformation of the hierarchical microporous structures with sharp nanoscale tips. Moreover, the sensor exhibits high durability over 6000 repeated cycles and practical applicability in wearable devices that can be used for healthcare monitoring and subtle airflow detection (1 L/min).