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Vol. 191, Issue 8, August 2015, pp. 72-77




Conformable Skin-Like Conductive Thin Films with AgNWs Strips for Flexible Electronic Devices

1 Yuhang SUN, 2 Debao ZHOU, 1 Jing BAI, 2 Eliah HAUSER, 3 Shufang WANG, 4 Baoguo HAN, 5 Zhaomiao LIU

1 Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN, 55812, USA
2 Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN, 55812, USA
3 School of Mechatronics, Beijing Union University, Beijing, 100020, China
4 School of Civil Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, Liaoning, 116024, China
5 College of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Electronics Technology, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing, 100124, China
2 Tel.: (218)726-6648, fax: (218)726-8596

E-mail: dzhou@d.umn.edu


Received: 24 June 2015 /Accepted: 30 July 2015 /Published: 31 August 2015

Digital Sensors and Sensor Sysstems


Abstract: Keeping good conductivity at high stretching strain is one of the main requirements for the fabrication of flexible electronic devices. The elastic nature of siloxane-based elastomers enables many innovative designs in wearable sensor devices and non-invasive insertion instruments, including skin-like tactile sensors. Over the last few years, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) thin films have been widely used as the substrates in the fabrication of flexible electronic devices due to their good elasticity and outstanding biocompatibility. However, these kind of thin films usually suffer poor resistance to tearing and insufficient compliance to curved surfaces, which limits their applications. Currently no three-dimensionally mountable tactile sensor arrays have been reported commercially available. In this work, we developed a kind of mechanically compliant skin-like conductive thin film by patterning silver nano wire traces in strip-style on Dragon Skin (DS) substrates instead of PDMS. High cross- link quality was achieved then. To further improve the conductivity, a thin gold layer was coated onto the silver nanowires (AgNWs) strips. Four different gold deposition routines have been designed and investigated by using different E-beam and spin coating processing methods. Owning to the intrinsically outstanding physical property of the Dragon Skin material and the uniform embedment built in the gold deposition processes, the DS/AgNWs thin films showed convincible advantages over PDMS/AgNWs thin films in both mechanical capability and conductive stability. Through experimental tests, the DS/AgNWs electrode thin films were proven to be able to maintain high conductivity following repeated linear deformations.


Keywords: Flexible electronic devices, Stretchability, Conductivity, Dragon Skin, AgNWs.


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