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Fabrication of Strain Gauges via Contact Printing

A Simple Route to Healthcare Sensors Based on Cross-Linked Gold Nanoparticles
: Ketelsen, B.; Yesilmen, M.; Schlicke, H.; Noei, H.; Su, C.-H.; Liao, Y.-C.; Vossmeyer, T.


ACS applied materials & interfaces 10 (2018), No.43, pp.37374-37385
ISSN: 1944-8244
ISSN: 0013-936X
ISSN: 1944-8252
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAP ()

In this study, we developed a novel and efficient process for the fabrication of resistive strain gauges for healthcare-related applications. First, 1,9-nonanedithiol cross-linked gold nanoparticle (GNP) films were prepared via layer-by-layer (LbL) spin-coating and subsequently transferred onto flexible polyimide foil by contact printing. Four-point bending tests revealed linear response characteristics with gauge factors of ∼14 for 4 nm GNPs and ∼26 for 7 nm GNPs. This dependency of strain sensitivity is attributed to the perturbation of charge carrier tunneling between neighboring GNPs, which becomes more efficient with increasing particle size. Fatigue tests revealed that the strain-resistance performance remained nearly the same after 10.000 strain/relaxation cycles. We demonstrate that these sensors are well suited to monitor muscle movements. Furthermore, we fabricated all-printed strain sensors by directly transferring cross-linked GNP films onto soft PDMS sheets equipped with interdigitated electrodes. Due to the low elastic modulus of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), these sensors are easily deformed and, therefore, they respond sensitively to faint forces. When taped onto the skin above the radial artery, they enable the well-resolved and robust recording of pulse waves with diagnostically relevant details.