The development of a highly sensitive artificial mechanotransducer that mimics the tactile sensing features of human skin has been a big challenge in electronic skin research. Here, we demonstrate an ultrasensitive, low-power oxide transistor-based mechanotransducer modulated by microstructured, deformable ionic dielectrics, which is consistently sensitive to a wide range of pressures from 1 to 50 kPa. To this end, we designed a viscoporoelastic and ionic thermoplastic polyurethane (i-TPU) with micropyramidal feature as a pressure-sensitive gate dielectric for the indium-gallium-zinc-oxide (IGZO) transistor-based mechanotransducer, which leads to an unprecedented sensitivity of 43.6 kPa-1, which is 23 times higher than that of a capacitive mechanotransducer. This is because the pressure-induced ion accumulation at the interface of the i-TPU dielectric and IGZO semiconductor effectively modulates the conducting channel, which contributed to the enhanced current level under pressure. We believe that the ionic transistor-type mechanotransducer suggested by us will be an effective way to perceive external tactile stimuli over a wide pressure range even under low power (<4 V), which might be one of the candidates to directly emulate the tactile sensing capability of human skin.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was financially supported by the Center for Advanced Soft-Electronics under the Global Frontier Project (CASE-2014M3A6A5060932) and the Basic Science Research Program (2017R1A2B4012819 and 2017R1A5A1015596) of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT. This research was also supported by the MIST (Ministry of Science and ICT), Korea, under the “ICT Consilience Creative Program” (IITP-2018-2017-0-01015) supervised by the IITP (Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)