Flexible electronics and wearable technology represent a novel and growing market for next generation devices. In this work, the authors deposit conductive zinc oxide films by atomic layer deposition onto nylon-6 nonwoven fiber mats and spun-cast films, and quantify the impact that deposition temperature, coating thickness, and aluminum doping have on the conductivity of the coated substrates. The authors produce aluminum doped zinc oxide (AZO) coated fibers with conductivity of 230 S/cm, which is ∼6× more conductive than ZnO coated fibers. Furthermore, the authors demonstrate AZO coated fibers maintain 62% of their conductivity after being bent around a 3 mm radius cylinder. As an example application, the authors fabricate an “all-fiber” pressure sensor using AZO coated nylon-6 electrodes. The sensor signal scales exponentially under small applied force (<50 g/cm2), yielding a ∼106× current change under 200 g/cm2. This lightweight, flexible, and breathable touch/force sensor could function, for example, as an electronically active nonwoven for personal or engineered system analysis and diagnostics.
Conductivity and touch-sensor application for atomic layer deposition ZnO and Al:ZnO on nylon nonwoven fiber mats
William J. Sweet, Christopher J. Oldham, Gregory N. Parsons; Conductivity and touch-sensor application for atomic layer deposition ZnO and Al:ZnO on nylon nonwoven fiber mats. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 1 January 2015; 33 (1): 01A117. https://doi.org/10.1116/1.4900718
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