We demonstrate a highly sensitive force sensor based on self-adjusting carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays. Aligned CNT arrays are directly synthesized on silicon microstructures by a space-confined growth technique which enables a facile self-adjusting contact. To afford flexibility and softness, the patterned microstructures with the integrated CNTs are embedded in polydimethylsiloxane structures. The sensing mechanism is based on variations in the contact resistance between the facing CNT arrays under the applied force. By finite element analysis, proper dimensions and positions for each component are determined. Further, high sensitivities up to 15.05%/mN of the proposed sensors were confirmed experimentally. Multidirectional sensing capability could also be achieved by designing multiple sets of sensing elements in a single sensor. The sensors show long-term operational stability, owing to the unique properties of the constituent CNTs, such as outstanding mechanical durability and elasticity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering