Tuesday, October 6 | 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
The evolution of electronic skin (E-skin) technology in the past decade has resulted in a great variety of flexible electronic devices that mimic the physical and chemical sensing properties of skin for applications in advanced robotics, prosthetics, and health monitoring technologies. The further advancement of E-skin technology demands closer imitation of skin receptor’s transduction mechanism, and also the study of transmission, processing and memory of the signals between neurons. Motivated by such demands, this proposed dissertation research focuses on design, fabrication, characterization and integration of novel flexible electronic devices, such as transistors and tactile sensors, to realize biomimetic E-skin with neuromorphic functions.
More specifically, I have studied flexible carbon nanotube thin-film transistors (CNT-TFTs) as control and signal processing units of E-skin and flexible ferroelectret nanogenerator (FENG) and triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) as skin mechanoreceptors. Multiple fabrication methods, such as low-cost printing and conventional cleanroom-based microfabrication have been implemented to fabricate flexible CNT-TFTs with different structures and functions, especially the synaptic functions. Furthermore, I have demonstrated a flexible neurological electronic skin and its peripheral nerve with FENG serving as the sensory mechanoreceptor that generates action potentials (pulsed voltages) to be processed and transmitted by the flexible synaptic CNT-TFT. It allows for instantaneous detection of force stimuli and offers biological synapse-like behavior to relay the stimulus signals to the next stage. Using similar concept, ongoing work is also being conducted to implement biomimetic optical or auditory nerves by combining flexible synaptic CNT-TFT with photodetectors or acoustic sensors for the detection and transmission of light or sound stimuli.
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