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An Organic/Inorganic Nanocomposite of Cellulose Nanofibers and ZnO Nanorods for Highly Sensitive, Reliable, Wireless, and Wearable Multifunctional Sensor Applications

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posted on 12.12.2019 by Teahoon Park, Nari Kim, Dabum Kim, Sang-Woo Kim, Youngseok Oh, Jung-Keun Yoo, Jungmok You, Moon-Kwang Um
Organic and inorganic one-dimensional nanomaterials were synthesized and combined into a nanocomposite film for a wearable sensor. Reproducible ZnO nanorod (NR) synthesis was achieved by the addition of an appropriate amount of water. Cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) were used due to their porous matrix formation. The interconnected channels of brittle ZnO NRs were well-fabricated in the flexible network of CNFs. The surface morphology, thermal, and mechanical properties of the CNF/ZnO NR nanocomposite film were characterized. The interfacial interactions between these two nanomaterials were also studied. The nanocomposite film is sufficiently flexible so that it shows no electrical resistance changes even after repeated bending tests with a minimum bending radius of 1.5 mm. In addition, ZnO NRs with different lengths were synthesized. The composite of longer ZnO NRs and CNF showed 2.8 × 103 times higher photocurrent and responsivity performance. The humidity sensing performance of the composite was also suggested. The CNF/ZnO NR film shows reasonable electrical signal changes enabling the evaluation of a calibration curve. Finally, a smart band including a CNF/ZnO NR film sensor was fabricated and connected to a smartphone by Bluetooth. These results open an avenue for developing wearable sensors by overcoming the brittleness of inorganic materials.

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