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Tuning Electromechanical Performance in Wrinkled Thin Film Soft Strain Sensors for Wearable Applications


Wearable electronics allow us to push the boundaries of human interaction with technology; however, most common wearable devices are still made of conventional electronics with rigid components. Soft stretchable strain sensors can withstand large deformations while retaining functionality and allow for ease of application to the body to capture subtle physiological signals. They have been applied towards motion detection and healthcare monitoring and can be integrated into multifunctional sensing platforms for enhanced human machine interface. This work focuses on materials for stretchable strain sensors and discusses how mechanical deformation impacts their performance. Specifically, we have established a wrinkled metallic thin film soft stretchable sensor fabrication platform. We add an encapsulation layer for practical purposes, improving the mechanical robustness and stability to our sensor, and investigate the physical contribution of this encapsulation layer to the electromechanical performance. Further, these sensors can be taken past electrical failure and still have subsequent operable stable electrical range below that fracture point with increased sensitivity post-fracture. This work will also cover sensor performance characteristics and explores novel attributes like self-healing properties and self-adhesive capabilities for mechanical improvement of stretchable electronics.

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