Researchers at the University of Tokyo have used graphene to create a pressure sensor that remains accurate even when bent double. The researchers said it can be folded over a radius of just 80 micrometers, about the same as a human hair, and still measure pressure changes.
The sensor was created by adding carbon nanotubes and graphene to an elastic polymer, spinning these out to create nanofibres which were then entangled to form a lightweight, thin, transparent structure. It consists of organic transistors and a pressure sensitive nanofibre structure. The sensor itself is just 8 micrometres thick, yet can record pressure changes in 144 locations at once. These properties make it an ideal choice for clinical gloves and mean that breast cancer detection could become much faster and more reliable.
The researchers state that they realized that many flexible sensors can measure pressure but none are suitable for measuring real objects since they are sensitive to distortion. They have tested the pressure sensor on an artificial blood vessel and found that it could detect small pressure changes and speed of pressure propagation.