Carbon nanomaterials conduct electricity and are suitable for skin electronics

Carbon nanomaterials conduct electricity and are suitable for skin electronics

KAUST materials scientists have developed a wearable electronic device so thin and flexible that it can be worn on human skin as a biosensor. Credits: KAUST, Vincent Tung

A soft and flexible ‘electronic skin’, so sensitive that it can detect small differences in temperature between inhaled and exhaled breath, could form the basis for a form of biosensor on the skin new. This ultra-thin material is also sensitive to touch and body movement, showing a wide range of potential applications.

“Skin plays an important role in our interactions with the world,” said Vincent Tung from KAUST, who led the research. “Recreating its properties in an e-skin can have Deep implications for wearable electronic devices, as well as for sensory prostheses, soft robot and man-machine interface,” he said.

However, despite considerable research effort, it is difficult to create suitable materials, which must be durable and highly sensitive, but imperceptible when applied to the skin.

A carbon nanomaterial called hydrogen-substituted graphdiyne (HsGDY) could be ideal for this task, as Tung and his collaborators have shown. This two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms shares similarities with graphene in terms of strength and electricity elf, but there are also key differences, Tung noted. The tight honeycomb-like carbon structure of graphene gives the material stiffness. In contrast, HsGDY .’s “bridge island” atomic structure In theory, hard regions connected by thin polymeric bridges would provide inherent softness and flexibility, ideal for dermal applications.

“The implementation of HsGDY into electronic skin has long been touted by theorists, but has yet to be proven experimentally,” says Tung. First, the team developed a new aggregation strategy to form large homogenous HsGDY sheets. “It is important that we use an atomically structured monocrystalline copper catalyst to couple the molecular building blocks of the material,” explains Tung.

The team was able to show what the theory had predicted: the resulting material had high torsion, stretch, and mechanical strength. “At about 18 nanometers thick, our e-skin is only a fraction of the thickness of human skin, allowing for consistent contact and long-lasting adhesion to the body with flexibility and comfort,” says Tung. maximum”.

Tung added that the material’s inverted atomic structure not only contributes to HsGDY’s soft and plastic properties, but is also key to its electronic properties. Bridges forming ultrathin conduction channels are prone to deformation, resulting in significant changes in electrical signal when the material is stretched by light touch or even by temperature change.

“The excellent sensitivity and compatibility make it possible to visualize the small distortion caused by the temperature difference between inhalation and exhalation, showing promising potential for clinical applications,” says Tung. realistic readiness”.

Article published in the magazine ACS nano.

More information:
Yichen Cai et al., Graph-based nanofilms for skin-compatible sensors, ACS nano (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.2c06169

quote: Compatible and conductive carbon nanomaterials for skin electronics (2022, 29 Nov) retrieved 30 Nov 2022 from -carbon-nanomaterial-on-skin-electronics.html

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