Sensors: Scientists Create Flexible, Transparent Pressure Sensor

First Posted: Jan 26, 2016 03:10 PM EST

A team of Japanese and American researchers have created a new flexible and transparent pressure sensor, which are more like pressure-sensitive rubber gloves. In this latest study, the researchers' pressure sensor is not only flexible, it also has transparent features.

"We've also tested the performance of our pressure sensor with an artificial blood vessel and found that it could detect small pressure changes and speed of pressure propagation," Dr. Sungwon Lee, coauthor of the study from the University of Tokyo, said in a news release.

Many sensors are flexible and they can fit to soft structures like human skin, however, these sensors cannot measure pressure accurately when they are twisted or wrinkled. At such a point, these sensors would no longer be useful on complex and moving surfaces.

In order to reduce these setbacks, the researchers created a nanofiber-type pressure sensor that can measure pressure distribution of rounded surfaces like an inflated balloon and it maintains sensing accuracy even when bent over a radius of 80 micrometers, (twice the width of a human hair).

The new sensor is 8 micrometers thick and it can measure the pressure in 144 areas at once, according to the researchers. The device comprises of organic transistors, electronic switches, which is made with carbon and oxygen based organic materials, and a pressure sensitive nanofiber structure.

The findings of this study were published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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