Skin-electrode iontronic interface for mechanosensing.
ABSTRACT: Electrodermal devices that capture the physiological response of skin are crucial for monitoring vital signals, but they often require convoluted layered designs with either electronic or ionic active materials relying on complicated synthesis procedures, encapsulation, and packaging techniques. Here, we report that the ionic transport in living systems can provide a simple mode of iontronic sensing and bypass the need of artificial ionic materials. A simple skin-electrode mechanosensing structure (SEMS) is constructed, exhibiting high pressure-resolution and spatial-resolution, being capable of feeling touch and detecting weak physiological signals such as fingertip pulse under different skin humidity. Our mechanical analysis reveals the critical role of instability in high-aspect-ratio microstructures on sensing. We further demonstrate pressure mapping with millimeter-spatial-resolution using a fully textile SEMS-based glove. The simplicity and reliability of SEMS hold great promise of diverse healthcare applications, such as pulse detection and recovering the sensory capability in patients with tactile dysfunction.
Project description:<h4>Highlights</h4>The iontronic pressure sensor achieved an ultrahigh sensitivity (S<sub>min</sub> > 200 kPa<sup>-1</sup>, S<sub>max</sub> > 45,000 kPa<sup>-1</sup>). The iontronic pressure sensor exhibited a broad sensing range of over 1.4 MPa. Pseudocapacitive iontronic pressure sensor using MXene was proposed. Flexible pressure sensors are unprecedentedly studied on monitoring human physical activities and robotics. Simultaneously, improving the response sensitivity and sensing range of flexible pressure sensors is a great challenge, which hinders the devices' practical application. Targeting this obstacle, we developed a Ti<sub>3</sub>C<sub>2</sub>T<sub>x</sub>-derived iontronic pressure sensor (TIPS) by taking the advantages of the high intercalation pseudocapacitance under high pressure and rationally designed structural configuration. TIPS achieved an ultrahigh sensitivity (S<sub>min</sub> > 200 kPa<sup>-1</sup>, S<sub>max</sub> > 45,000 kPa<sup>-1</sup>) in a broad sensing range of over 1.4 MPa and low limit of detection of 20 Pa as well as stable long-term working durability for 10,000 cycles. The practical application of TIPS in physical activity monitoring and flexible robot manifested its versatile potential. This study provides a demonstration for exploring pseudocapacitive materials for building flexible iontronic sensors with ultrahigh sensitivity and sensing range to advance the development of high-performance wearable electronics.
Project description:Monitoring biophysical signals such as body or organ movements and other physical phenomena is necessary for patient rehabilitation. However, stretchable flexible pressure sensors with high sensitivity and a broad range that can meet these requirements are still lacking. Herein, we successfully monitored various vital biophysical features and implemented in-sensor dynamic deep learning for knee rehabilitation using an ultrabroad linear range and high-sensitivity stretchable iontronic pressure sensor (SIPS). We optimized the topological structure and material composition of the electrode to build a fully stretching on-skin sensor. The high sensitivity (12.43 kPa<sup>-1</sup>), ultrabroad linear sensing range (1 MPa), high pressure resolution (6.4 Pa), long-term durability (no decay after 12000 cycles), and excellent stretchability (up to 20%) allow the sensor to maintain operating stability, even in emergency cases with a high sudden impact force (near 1 MPa) applied to the sensor. As a practical demonstration, the SIPS can positively track biophysical signals such as pulse waves, muscle movements, and plantar pressure. Importantly, with the help of a neuro-inspired fully convolutional network algorithm, the SIPS can accurately predict knee joint postures for better rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery. Our SIPS has potential as a promising candidate for wearable electronics and artificial intelligent medical engineering owing to its unique high signal-to-noise ratio and ultrabroad linear range. An ultrabroad-linear range (1 MPa) iontronic pressure sensor with superior sensitivity (12.43 kPa<sup>-1</sup>) and stretchability (up to 20%) was proposed for biophysical monitoring and deep learning-based knee-rehabilitation training.
Project description:Despite numerous reports on iontronic devices, there has been no whole circuit working in aqueous media including even power source. Herein, we introduce complete ionic circuits powered by reverse electrodialysis (RED) for the first time without employing any electronic components. The RED-driven polyelectrolyte diode successfully shows rectification behavior which is verified by monitoring dynamic ion distribution through fluorescence in real-time. We can also turn on and off the voltage applied to the circuit, and apply an arbitrary voltage by precisely manipulating the pressure imposed to an elastic connection tube filled with electrolyte. Furthermore, this new concept containing ionic power source advances to a more sophisticated ionic OR logic gate. The proposed system paves the way to develop not only passive iontronic devices (e.g. current ionic diode), but active ones requiring a source of energy, particularly such as a neuron-like information processor powered by fully ionic systems, and thereby aqueous computers.
Project description:Blink reflex has long been considered closely related to physiological states, from which abundant information on ocular health and activities can be revealed. In this study, a smart glasses wearable has been developed, incorporating a flexible and sensitive pressure sensor, to monitor blink patterns by continuously detecting ocular muscular movements, referred to as blink-sensing glasses. By applying the emerging flexible iontronic sensing (FITS) sensor with the sensitivity of 340 pF/mmHg, the skin pressure variations induced by movements of the orbicularis oculi muscles can be monitored in real time. The blink-sensing glasses can successfully capture blink patterns with a high accuracy of 96.3% and have been used to differentiate the blink features from both dry-eye subjects and healthy controls. This device can be potentially used as a new clinical and research monitoring tool for continuous eye blink analysis, while providing patients with high comfortableness in long-term ambulatory and home settings.
Project description:Sensitivity is a crucial parameter for flexible pressure sensors and electronic skins. While introducing microstructures (e.g., micro-pyramids) can effectively improve the sensitivity, it in turn leads to a limited pressure-response range due to the poor structural compressibility. Here, we report a strategy of engineering intrafillable microstructures that can significantly boost the sensitivity while simultaneously broadening the pressure responding range. Such intrafillable microstructures feature undercuts and grooves that accommodate deformed surface microstructures, effectively enhancing the structural compressibility and the pressure-response range. The intrafillable iontronic sensor exhibits an unprecedentedly high sensitivity (S<sub>min</sub>?>?220?kPa<sup>-1</sup>) over a broad pressure regime (0.08?Pa-360?kPa), and an ultrahigh pressure resolution (18?Pa or 0.0056%) over the full pressure range, together with remarkable mechanical stability. The intrafillable structure is a general design expected to be applied to other types of sensors to achieve a broader pressure-response range and a higher sensitivity.
Project description:Stretchable ionic skins are intriguing in mimicking the versatile sensations of natural skins. However, for their applications in advanced electronics, good elastic recovery, self-healing, and more importantly, skin-like nonlinear mechanoresponse (strain-stiffening) are essential but can be rarely met in one material. Here we demonstrate a robust proton-conductive ionic skin design via introducing an entropy-driven supramolecular zwitterionic reorganizable network to the hydrogen-bonded polycarboxylic acid network. The design allows two dynamic networks with distinct interacting strength to sequentially debond with stretch, and the conflict among elasticity, self-healing, and strain-stiffening can be thus defeated. The representative polyacrylic acid/betaine elastomer exhibits high stretchability (1600% elongation), immense strain-stiffening (24-fold modulus enhancement), ~100% self-healing, excellent elasticity (97.9 ± 1.1% recovery ratio, <14% hysteresis), high transparency (99.7 ± 0.1%), moisture-preserving, anti-freezing (elastic at -40 °C), water reprocessibility, as well as easy-to-peel adhesion. The combined advantages make the present ionic elastomer very promising in wearable iontronic sensors for human-machine interfacing.
Project description:Purpose: The aim of the study was to investigate steady state levels, dynamics and reproducibility of cardiovascular variables and electrodermal activity in different skin areas in response to minor physiological and mental stimuli in healthy subjects in the thermoneutral zone, carried out in high time resolution. Methods: Thirteen healthy subjects underwent experiments on two separate days. Non-invasive electrodermal activity in five different skin areas was measured continuously using a skin conductance method, including resting supine and sitting positions, performing deep inspirations, a mental challenge and being exposed to a sudden loud sound. Blood pressure, heart rate, radial artery blood flow, and skin perfusion were measured simultaneously. Results: Electrodermal activity in the right and left palms was almost identical, with rapid and large increases within a few seconds in response to stimuli, whereas no such significant changes were seen in the face, back, and abdomen. Radial artery blood flow and palmar skin perfusion changed synchronously with electrodermal activity for each stimulus, and were correlated to changes in blood pressure and heart rate. The response patterns in each subject were very similar on the two experimental days. There was very low spontaneous electrodermal activity in the supine position, contrary to the resting sitting position. Conclusion: The electrodermal activity increased rapidly and synchronously in both palms within a few seconds as a response to minor physiological and mental stimuli, synchronous with fluctuations in radial artery blood flow, palmar skin perfusion, and cardiovascular variables. The responses are reproducible from day to day, making them a stable and constant stimuli to be used for studies in patients with hyperhidrosis.
Project description:Human-computer interfaces, smart glasses, touch screens, and some electronic skins require highly transparent and flexible pressure-sensing elements. Flexible pressure sensors often apply a microstructured or porous active material to improve their sensitivity and response speed. However, the microstructures or small pores will result in high haze and low transparency of the device, and thus it is challenging to balance the sensitivity and transparency simultaneously in flexible pressure sensors or electronic skins. Here, for a capacitive-type sensor that consists of a porous polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) film sandwiched between two transparent electrodes, the challenge is addressed by filling the pores with ionic liquid that has the same refractive index with PVDF, and the transmittance of the film dramatically boosts from 0 to 94.8% in the visible range. Apart from optical matching, the ionic liquid also significantly improves the signal intensity as well as the sensitivity due to the formation of an electric double layer at the dielectric-electrode interfaces, and improves the toughness and stretchability of the active material benefiting from a plasticization effect. Such transparent and flexible sensors will be useful in smart windows, invisible bands, and so forth.
Project description:In the emerging field of organic bioelectronics, conducting polymers and ion-selective membranes are combined to form resistors, diodes, transistors, and circuits that transport and process both electronic and ionic signals. Such bioelectronics concepts have been explored in delivery devices that translate electronic addressing signals into the transport and dispensing of small charged biomolecules at high specificity and spatiotemporal resolution. Manufacturing such "iontronic" devices generally involves classical thin film processing of polyelectrolyte layers and insulators followed by application of electrolytes. This approach makes miniaturization and integration difficult, simply because the ion selective polyelectrolytes swell after completing the manufacturing. To advance such bioelectronics/iontronics and to enable applications where relatively larger molecules can be delivered, it is important to develop a versatile material system in which the charge/size selectivity can be easily tailormade at the same time enabling easy manufacturing of complex and miniaturized structures. Here, we report a one-pot synthesis approach with minimal amount of organic solvent to achieve cationic hyperbranched polyglycerol films for iontronics applications. The hyperbranched structure allows for tunable pre multi-functionalization, which combines available unsaturated groups used in crosslinking along with ionic groups for electrolytic properties, to achieve a one-step process when applied in devices for monolithic membrane gel formation with selective electrophoretic transport of molecules.
Project description:Polyelectrolyte hydrogel ionic diodes (PHIDs) have recently emerged as a unique set of iontronic devices. Such diodes are built on microfluidic chips that feature polyelectrolyte hydrogel junctions and rectify ionic currents owing to the heterogeneous distribution and transport of ions across the junctions. In this paper, we provide the first account of a study on the ion transport behavior of PHIDs through an experimental investigation and numerical simulation. The effects of bulk ionic strength and hydrogel pore confinement are experimentally investigated. The ionic current rectification (ICR) exhibits saturation in a micromolar regime and responds to hydrogel pore size, which is subsequently verified in a simulation. Furthermore, we experimentally show that the rectification is sensitive to the dose of immobilized DNA with an exhibited sensitivity of 1 ng/μL. We anticipate our findings would be beneficial to the design of PHID-based biosensors for electrical detection of charged biomolecules.