Pressure Sensors including an Ionic Conduction Sensing Mechanism
The present invention describes thin film sensors for detecting the presence, intensity, and/or location of a compressive force, or pressure based on ionic conduction variation as the sensing principle. Upon wisely choosing soft materials-- elastomer-like polymer and polymeric gel electrolytes/polymer electrolytes in combination with appropriate patterning, the present invention offers low pressure level sensing and mapping capability with enhanced sensitivity. The sensor includes a plurality of conducting elements spaced apart from each other and at least one deformable electrolyte bridge contacting each of the conducting elements at one or more contact points having an aggregate contact area. Upon formation of an ionic circuit between two of the conducting elements, a first resistivity between the two conducting element exists. Upon application of a compressive force on the at least one deformable electrolyte bridge directed toward at least one of the conducting elements, the aggregate contact area increases such that a second resistivity between the two conducting elements exists. The difference between the first and second resistivity can be correlated with the pressure or mechanical displacement to be measured.
- This invention has numerous potential application in pressure sensing and mapping, e.g., seat occupancy detection for the automobile industry, tactile feedback for robots to sense and respond to environments, rehabilitation progress monitoring of a patient for the medical industry, biting force mapping in dentistry application, or measuring force on golf club grips.