Biomimetic hydrogel-CNT network induced enhancement of fluid-structure interactions for ultrasensitive nanosensors

Bora, M., Kottapalli, A. G. P., Miao, J. & Triantafyllou, M. S., 27-Oct-2017, In : NPG Asia Materials. 9, 9 p., 440.

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Flexible, self-powered, miniaturized, ultrasensitive flow sensors are in high demand for human motion detection, myoelectric prosthesis, biomedical robots, and health-monitoring devices. This paper reports a biomimetic nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) flow sensor featuring a PVDF nanofiber sensing membrane with a hydrogel infused, vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) bundle that mechanically interacts with the flow. The hydrogel-VACNT structure mimics the cupula structure in biological flow sensors and gives the NEMS flow sensor ultrahigh sensitivity via a material-induced drag force enhancement mechanism. Through hydrodynamic experimental flow characterization, this work investigates the contributions of the mechanical and structural properties of the hydrogel in offering a sensing performance superior to that of conventional sensors. The ultrahigh sensitivity of the developed sensor enabled the detection of minute flows generated during human motion and micro-droplet propagation. The novel fabrication strategies and combination of materials used in the biomimetic NEMS sensor fabrication may guide the development of several wearable, flexible, and self-powered nanosensors in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number440
Number of pages9
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Publication statusPublished - 27-Oct-2017
Externally publishedYes



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