PKU Hu Youfan’s group makes great progress in research on wearable textile sensors

APR . 14 2020
Peking University, April 14, 2020: Hu Youfan, from School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science, Peking University, in collaboration with Professor Zheng Zijian from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has made great progress in research on new wearable textile pressure sensors, developing TENG-based (based on triboelectric nanogenerators) machine-washable and breathable pressure sensors enabled by textile technologies.

Among wearable electronics, textile ones play a distinguishable part, for they can be integrated with traditional textiles in daily use due to their excellent breathability and flexibility. Recently, TENG-based self-powered sensors are of great interest, since they are easier to design and produce with more reliable output and a wider range of application. However, challenges remain, including the compatibility between devices designing/manufacturing and present textile technology, the influence from textile structure on the key characteristics of the pressure sensor, the reliability as well as washability of textile pressure sensors, and etc.

By using machines to interlace robust Cu-PAN (Cu-coated polyacrylonitrile) yarns and parylene-Cu-PAN (parylene coated Cu-PAN) yarns via multiple textile industry compatible technologies for the first time, Hu’s group, along with Zheng’s, have manufactured TENG-based textile pressure sensors with excellent machine-washability and breathability, simultaneously achieving devices with stitched, woven, and knitted structures. They have also investigated TENG-based pressure sensors with different textile structures under as-fabricated conditions and after machine washing, proposing a relation between textile structure and the key characteristics of the sensors. The results have showed the material/device designs, mechanical circumstances, manufacturing methods, and etc. will affect the sensitivity, linearity, saturation trend and washability of the obtained sensors. Besides, they have found that a smart textile glove with stitched pressure sensors can demonstrate grip posture detection in various circumstances.

In March, such achievement, titled “Machine-washable and breathable pressure sensors based on triboelectric nanogenerators enabled textile technologies”, has been published in Nano Energy (2020, 70, 104528), a leading journal in nanomaterial studies. Hu Youfan is the corresponding author. This achievement proves that with an appropriate textile structure, TENG-based textile pressure sensors will fulfill the potential for compatibility with textile industry, light weight, portability, washability, and wearablity.

Written by: Zhou Meng
Edited by: Wang Nini
Source: PKU News (Chinese)