The future Internet of Things (IoT), with its intuitive applications, will operate based on an broad stream of data supplied by sensors placed everywhere. These will be sensors that are many times smarter and more sensitive than the ones we have today. They will also be produced and installed in far greater numbers and be much cheaper than they are now. For example, researchers envisage a radar that is capable of distinguishing pedestrians from cyclists. That technology might even allow to identify individuals from the way they walk.
In the past, the performance of synthesized MoS2 had been poor, especially when integrated on flexible substrates. A new study have now yielded the highest performance for CVD-grown monolayer MoS2 device properties on flexible substrates to date. MoS2 exhibits unique physical, optical and electrical properties correlated with its single-layer atomic layer structure. Important for electronics applications, and in contrast to graphene, MoS2 has a bandgap.
Current research on tactile sensors is mostly focused on the improvement of sensitivity and multi-functionality to emulate the function of natural skin. However, natural skin can sense external pressure and help form haptic memory, while current flexible tactile sensors for electronic skin can only perform sensing functions. This functionality gap between state-of-the-art tactile sensing devices and natural skin inspired a team of researchers to develop haptic memory devices that integrate sensor and memory functions.
One of the challenges of fabricating flexible electronics has been the trade-off between a material's high flexibility and adaptability, and its conductivity. Exploring feasible methods for guiding conducting or semiconducting nanomaterials into elastomeric matrices will be key to further progress in this area. A promising approach has just been reported by scientists, who have developed a facile printing strategy to assemble silver nanoparticles into micro- and nano-curve structures via a pillar-patterned silicon template. The curves with various tortuosity morphologies have differential resistive strain sensitivity, which can be integrated into a multi-analysis flexible sensor to perform complex-recognition of human facial expressions.
Researchers have successfully used amorphous metal tungsten nitride to demonstrate nanoelectromechanical switches that are capable of sub-1 volt operation. In the past, attaining sub-1 volt operation at dynamic state and faster switching was extremely difficult. These efforts required the use of very expensive lithography systems to pattern nanoscale free-hanging switches. This is the first ever demonstration of a 3-terminal NEM switch.
Rollable displays and other flexible, stretchable electronic systems are often enabled by the successful integration of nanostructured materials. Most commercially available flexible electronic circuits and devices are fabricated on flexible plastic substrates, such as polymeric amides, PEEK polymers, or transparent conductive polyester films. Although these substrates can be easily bent and rolled up, they cannot be used to fabricate rollable display-integrated gadgets that are fixed at a rigid perpendicular position on their own. To overcome this issue, researchers have now used a reversibly bistable material to demonstrate flexible electronics.
The age of wearable electronics is upon us as witnessed by the fast growing array of smart watches, fitness bands and other advanced, next-generation health monitoring devices such as electronic stick-on tattoos. In order for these wearable sensor devices to become fully integrated into sophisticated monitoring systems, they require wireless interfaces to external communication devices such as smartphones. This requires far-field communication systems that, like the sensor systems, perform even under extreme deformations and during extended periods of normal daily activities.
The noise level in devices with graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials has to be reduced in order to enable their practical applications. It will not be possible to build graphene-based communication systems or detectors until the noise spectral density is decreased to the level comparable with the conventional state-of-the-art transistors.Researchers have now demonstrated that the electronic noise in graphene devices can be strongly suppressed if a graphene channel is encased between two layers of hexagonal boron nitride.