Soft Capacitive Pressure Sensor with Enhanced Sensitivity Assisted by ZnO NW Interlayers and Airgap

Journal article

Kumaresan, Y., Ma, S., Ozioko, O. and Dahiya, R. 2022. Soft Capacitive Pressure Sensor with Enhanced Sensitivity Assisted by ZnO NW Interlayers and Airgap. IEEE Sensors Journal. 22 (5), pp. 3974 - 3982.
AuthorsKumaresan, Y., Ma, S., Ozioko, O. and Dahiya, R.

Highly sensitive capacitive pressure sensors with wide detection range are needed for applications such as human-machine interfaces, electronic skin in robotics, and health monitoring. However, it is challenging to achieve high sensitivity and wide detection range at the same time. Herein, we present an innovative approach to obtain a highly sensitive capacitive pressure sensor by introducing a zinc oxide nanowire (ZnO NW) interlayer at the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)/electrodes interface in the conventional metal-insulator-metal architecture. The ZnO NW interlayer significantly enhanced the performance with ~7 times higher sensitivity (from 0.81%kPa −1 to 5.6452%kPa −1 at a low-pressure range (0-10 kPa)) with respect to conventional capacitive sensors having PDMS only as the dielectric. The improvement in sensitivity is attributed to the enhanced charge separation and electric dipole generation due to the displacement of Zn + and O − under applied pressure. Further, the orientation of ZnO NWs and their placement between the electrodes were investigated which includes either vertical or horizontal NWs near the electrodes, placing a third ZnO NW interlayer in the middle of dielectric PDMS and introducing an air gap between the ZnO NWs/electrode. Among various combinations, the introduction of air gap between the electrode and ZnO NW interlayer revealed a significant improvement in the device performance with ~50 times enhancement at a low-pressure range (0-10 kPa) and more than 200 times increase at a high-pressure range (10-200 kPa), in comparison with the conventional PDMS-based pressure sensor.

KeywordsPDMS-based pressure sensor.; Highly sensitive capacitive pressure sensors; robotics
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Journal citation22 (5), pp. 3974 - 3982
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Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online13 Jan 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Mar 2024
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