The fundamental challenge in designing transparent pressure sensors is the ideal combination of high optical transparency and high pressure sensitivity. Satisfying these competing demands is commonly achieved by a compromise between the transparency and usage of a patterned dielectric surface, which increases pressure sensitivity, but decreases transparency. Herein, a design strategy for fabricating high-transparency and high-sensitivity capacitive pressure sensors is proposed, which relies on the multiple states of nanoparticle dispersity resulting in enhanced surface roughness and light transmittance. We utilize two nanoparticle dispersion states on a surface: (i) homogeneous dispersion, where each nanoparticle (≈500 nm) with a size comparable to the visible light wavelength has low light scattering; and (ii) heterogeneous dispersion, where aggregated nanoparticles form a micrometer-sized feature, increasing pressure sensitivity. This approach is experimentally verified using a nanoparticle-dispersed polymer composite, which has high pressure sensitivity (1.0 kPa–1), and demonstrates excellent transparency (>95%). We demonstrate that the integration of nanoparticle-dispersed capacitor elements into an array readily yields a real-time pressure monitoring application and a fully functional touch device capable of acting as a pressure sensor-based input device, thereby opening up new avenues to establish processing techniques that are effective on the nanoscale yet applicable to macroscopic processing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
H.K. and G.K. contributed equally to this work. This research was supported by Engineering Research Center (2015R1A5A1037668) and Mid-career Researcher Program (2017R1A2B2009751) through the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea. H.-G.P. acknowledges support by the NRF of Korea (2009-0081565).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)