This is an intrinsically stretchable organic tribotronic transistor (SOTT) without a top gate electrode, which is composed of a stretchable substrate, silver nanowire (Ag NW) electrodes, semiconductor blends, and a nonpolar elastomer dielectric. The SOTT can be conformably attached to the human skin, which is very beneficial for skin-inspired devices.
Stretchable electronics are grabbing more and more attention for a wide range of applications in wearable devices, soft mechanics, robotic skin, human-machine interfaces, and so on. However, most of the tactile-sensing mechanisms for stretchable electronics are passive, lacking direct interaction with human/environment. This complicates the process of information acquisition and further influences the tactile perception ability of stretchable functional devices.
Tribotronics group in Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems has developed an intrinsically stretchable organic tribotronic transistor (SOTT) without a top gate electrode, which is composed of a stretchable substrate, silver nanowire (Ag NW) electrodes, semiconductor blends, and a nonpolar elastomer dielectric. The SOTT can be modulated by external contact electrification with the dielectric layer. Under 0-50% stretching both parallel and perpendicular to the channel directions, the SOTT exhibits good output performances. After being stretched to 50% for thousands of cycles, the SOTT can survive with excellent stability.
"Owing to the simple form of the structure, the merit of stretchability, and the retention of performance, the SOTT is very promising for active tactile sensing," said Chi Zhang, who led the research. In order to fulfill the potential of SOTT in active tactile-sensing applications, the researchers have made a smart interaction demonstration using the SOTT. Through the tactile perception of the SOTT, the common home devices, such as a table lamp, a bell, and an electric fan, can be wirelessly controlled by a finger touch. "This presents many potential applications for the SOTT in daily life, such as the self-care for the disabled," Zhang said. Moreover, Zhang and his team successfully achieved to control the posture of a robot by using the SOTT as a tactile sensor. The robot posture can be controlled by a finger touch through the SOTT in both pristine and stretched state. This work has extended the application of tribotronics in human-machine interface, wearable electronics, and robotics.
The study was published (May. 25) in Research, the first Science Partner Journal recently launched by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in collaboration with the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST). Zhang is the principal investigator of tribotronics group in Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems. Doctoral students Junqing Zhao and Tianzhao Bu, served as the paper's co-first authors.
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