Shanghai silicate progresses on flexible graphene fiber sensors

March 27, 2020

The flexible wearable sensor is mainly dedicated to sensing and monitoring various human activities, and has extensive applications in motion sensing, personal health monitoring, intelligent robots, and human-machine interaction. Traditional strain sensors, such as those based on metal foils and semiconductors, cannot be applied to flexible wearable sensors because they do not have good flexibility and have a small detectable range (<5%). Some nanomaterials have been applied to various types of flexible strain sensors such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, and metal nanowires due to their excellent mechanical flexibility and electrical conductivity. Although some progress has been made, there are still two major problems: First, it is difficult to obtain high sensitivity and a large sensing range at the same time; the other is that the current flexible sensors are large and versatile, such as only sensing tensile strain. It is not possible to induce bending, twisting, and other deformations at the same time, so it is not suitable for sensing complex and delicate human activities.

Recently, the research team led by Sun Jing, a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, successfully prepared a highly sensitive flexible fiber sensor based on graphene material, which has a broad application in the field of flexible wearable sensing, especially wearable human physiology activities. Application prospects. The work was published in the journal Advanced Materials and has applied for a Chinese invention patent.

The team designed a special fiber structure similar to a compression spring and used graphene as a sensitive conductive material to produce a flexible fiber sensor that can sense tensile, bending, and torsional deformation (Figure 1).

This fiber sensor has a tensile strain detection range of up to 100% and a sensitivity of 0.2%. At the same time, it has extremely excellent effective induction for bending deformation and torsional deformation (Fig. 2). The detection range of the bending angle is up to 90 degrees, and the sensing sensitivity reaches 2 degrees. For the clockwise and counterclockwise torsional deformations, the fiber sensor can also differentiate and sense the degree of torsion.

In further wearable applications, the team used this flexible sensor's superior performance to achieve real-time monitoring of a variety of human physiology activities, such as human body running, walking, jumping and other strenuous exercise states, as well as heartbeat, pulse and other physiological activities. Real-time sensing and feedback. It is worth mentioning that the preparation method of the graphene fiber sensor is simple, low-cost, and easy to mass production, and has a great market prospect.

Once this work was published, it caught the attention of the international community. Materials Views made a special report on recent scientific news.

This work was funded by the National Key Basic Research and Development Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Shanghai Natural Science Foundation and the Shanghai Institute of Silicate Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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