Stretchable and Skin-Conformable Conductors Based on Polyurethane/Laser-Induced Graphene

Alexander Dallinger, Kirill Keller, Harald Fitzek, Francesco Greco*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The conversion of various polymer substrates into laser-induced graphene (LIG) with a CO2 laser in ambient condition is recently emerging as a simple method for obtaining patterned porous graphene conductors, with a myriad of applications in sensing, actuation, and energy. In this paper, a method is presented for embedding porous LIG (LIG-P) or LIG fibers (LIG-F) into a thin (about 50 μm) and soft medical grade polyurethane (MPU) providing excellent conformal adhesion on skin, stretchability, and maximum breathability to boost the development of various unperceivable monitoring systems on skin. The effect of varying laser fluence and geometry of the laser scribing on the LIG micro-nanostructure morphology and on the electrical and electromechanical properties of LIG/MPU composites is investigated. A peculiar and distinct behavior is observed for either LIG-P or LIG-F. Excellent stretchability without permanent impairment of conductive properties is revealed up to 100% strain and retained after hundreds of cycles of stretching tests. A distinct piezoresistive behavior, with an average gauge factor of 40, opens the way to various potential strain/pressure sensing applications. A novel method based on laser scribing is then introduced for providing vertical interconnect access (VIA) into LIG/MPU conformable epidermal sensors. Such VIA enables stable connections to an external measurement device, as this represents a typical weakness of many epidermal devices so far. Three examples of minimally invasive LIG/MPU epidermal sensing proof of concepts are presented: as electrodes for electromyographic recording on limb and as piezoresistive sensors for touch and respiration detection on skin. Long-term wearability and functioning up to several days and under repeated stretching tests is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19855-19865
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume12
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • biosensor
  • epidermal
  • laser
  • porous graphene
  • stretchable conductor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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