Nano-Micro Letters

Flexible Tactile Electronic Skin with Three-dimensional Force Sensing Capability based on Microstructured CNTs/PDMS Nanocomposite

Xuguang Sun1, 2, ‡, Jianhai Sun1, ‡, Tong Li1, Shuaikang Zheng1, 2, Chunkai Wang1, 2, Wenshuo Tan1, 2, Jingong Zhang3, Chang Liu1, Tianjun Ma1, Zhimei Qi1, Chunxiu Liu1, *, Ning Xue1, *

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Nano-Micro Lett. (2019) 11: 57

First Online: 16 July 2019 (Article)


*Corresponding author. E-mail: xuening@mail.ie.ac.cn (Ning Xue); cxliu@mail.ie.ac.cn (Chunxiu Liu)





Flexible tactile sensors have broad application prospects in human physiological monitoring, robotic operation, and human-machine interaction. However, the research of wearable and flexible tactile sensors with high sensitivity, wide sensing range, and ability to detect three-dimensional (3D) force is still very challenging. Herein, a flexible tactile sensor array electronic skin using multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs)/polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) nanocomposite is presented for 3D contact force detection. The 3D forces are acquired from combination of four specially designed cells in a sensing element. Contributed from the double-sided rough porous structure and specific surface morphology of nanocomposites, the piezoresistive sensor possesses high sensitivity of 12.1 kPa−1 within the range of  600 Pa and 0.68 kPa−1 in the regime exceeding 1 kPa for normal pressure as well as 59.9 N−1 in the scope of < 0.05 N and > 2.3 N−1 in the region of < 0.6 N for tangential force with ultra-low response time of 3.1 ms. In addition, multi-functional detection in human body monitoring is employed with single sensing cell and the sensor array is integrated into a robotic arm for objects grasping control, indicating the capacities in intelligent robot applications.



Flexible tactile sensors; Electronic skins; Piezoresistive sensors; Nanocomposite materials; Three-dimensional force detection

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