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Biological sensory organelles are often structurally optimized for high sensitivity. Tactile hairs or bristles are ubiquitous mechanosensory organelles in insects. The bristle features a tapering spine that not only serves as a lever arm to promote signal transduction, but also a clever design to protect it from mechanical breaking. A hierarchical distribution over the body further improves the signal detection from all directions. We mimic these features by using synthetic zinc oxide microparticles, each having spherically-distributed, high-aspect-ratio, and high-density nanostructured spines resembling biological bristles. Sensors based on thin films assembled from these microparticles achieve static-pressure detection down to 0.015 Pa, sensitivity up to 121 kPa−1, and a strain gauge factor >104, showing supreme overall performance. Other properties including a robust cyclability >2000, fast response time ~7 ms, and low-temperature synthesis compatible to various integrations further indicate the potential of this sensor technology in applying to wearable technologies and human interfaces.
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5269-3190, http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1463-9916, http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7425-3305,
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Yin, Bing; Liu, Xiaomeng; Gao, Hongyan; Fu, Tianda; and Yao, Jun, "Bioinspired and bristled microparticles for ultrasensitive pressure and strain sensors" (2018). Nature Communications. 1188.