Flexible touch sensor system as thin as 2μm, feather light

August 23, 2013 //By Julien Happich
Flexible touch sensor system as thin as 2μm, feather light
Within the framework of the Japan Science and Technology Agency's (JST) Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) project, researchers have developed what they claim to be the world's lightest and thinnest flexible touch sensor system.

With a sheet density of only 3g/m 2 and built on a 1.2μm thin plastic foil, the 48x48mm prototype features an array of 144 sensors and could well be suited for healthcare and medical applications where conformable sensor sheets could minimize patient discomfort. 

Professor Takao Someya, Associate Professor Tsuyoshi Sekitani, Dr. Martin Kaltenbrunner, University of Tokyo, and their coworkers also believe the sensors could find applications as a form of electronic skin in robotics or prosthetics.

The international research team developed a novel technique to form a high-quality 19nm-thick insulating layer on the rough surface of a 1.2μm-thick polymeric film. The organic transistor ICs exhibited extraordinary robustness in spite of being very thin. In fact, when deposited on a rugged substrate, the sensors could withstand 233% of tensile strain (stretched up to double their original size) while retaining full functionality. The bend radius of 5 micron means the sheet of sensors can also be squashed up into a ball while retaining its electrical properties.

These extremely thin and practically imperceptible sensors could open up a wide range of new applications in fields ranging from healthcare and biomedicine to welfare.

Source: University of Tokyo

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