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Micro Tactile Sensors with a Suspended and Oriented Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Beam Embedded in Polydimethylsiloxane Elastomer

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A tactile sensor utilizing a patterned, aligned, and suspended SWNT film as a sensing element is reported in this paper. The sensor was prepared on both silicon and polymer substrates to expand its potential applications to different working conditions. First, a trench 10 m deep with Cr/Au electrodes on both sides of the trench was realized. Next, dense and oriented SWNT films were self-assembled using dielectrophoresis through in-situ control of the dc resistance of the film. Follow that, the SWNT film was patterned by lithography and oxygen plasma etching to prepare a suspended SWNT beam. Finally, PDMS primer was spin-coated on the structure and cured to protect the SWNT beam and realize a robust tactile sensor. In nanoindentation test, a piezoresistive sensitivity of 5%/mN and a detection limitation of 2 N were demonstrated. This simple and low temperature fabrication technology is believed to be very promising for flexible tactile sensor and sensor array in applications to smart robots, implantable clinic tools, or embedded pressure sensors in micro fluidic systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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