When sensors get together


Matrix takes us further down the path towards electronic skin, researchers hope.


Masaya Kondo

Advances in flexible sensors and organic electronics are moving us closer to the idea of creating electronic skin, but there is still one obvious stumbling block: to closely replicate skin, you need to interconnect a lot of individual sensors.

Researchers from Germany and Japan think they have the answer.

Writing in the journal Science Advances, they describe this active matrix magnetic sensor system, in which all the necessary electronic components are based on organic thin-film transistors and integrated within a single platform.

They say they have demonstrated that the system has a high magnetic sensitivity and can acquire the two-dimensional magnetic field distribution in real time. It is also very robust against mechanical deformation, such as bending, creasing or kinking.

"Our first integrated magnetic functionalities prove that thin-film flexible magnetic sensors can be integrated within complex organic circuits,” say co-authors Oliver G Schmidt and Daniil Karnaushenko, from the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research.

The next step is to increase the number of sensors per surface area as well as to expand the electronic skin to fit larger surfaces.

The work is a collaboration with the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University.

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  1. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/4/eaay6094
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