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Nanocomposite Conductive Elastomer: Microfabrication Processes and Applications in Soft-Matter MEMS Sensors

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2011

Chang Liu
Affiliation:
changliu@uiuc.edu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, 208 North Wright Street, Urbana, IL, 61801, United States, 1-217-333-4051
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Abstract

3D micro-molded PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) elastomer is widely used in MEMS. However, traditional PDMS is non-conductive and as a result is used in mostly structural applications. It is difficult to embed elastomeric, “stretchy” conductors and transduction elements in molded PDMS matrix. We report general methods for monolithic fabrication of multi-layer PDMS structures with embedded conductive and non-conductive elastomer elements. Conductive PDMS parts, made of carbon-nanotube-filled composite PDMS, can form internal elastomer wires, electrodes, heaters, and sensors. The process uses a series of PDMS patterning, micromolding, and bonding techniques. In this work we demonstrate elastomer strain gauges, capacitive pressure sensors, as well as microfluidic channels with integrated heaters and sensors.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2007

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References

[1] Chen, J. and Tsubokawa, N., “Novel Gas Sensor from Polymer-Grafted Carbon Black: Vapor Response of Electric Resistance of Conducting Composites Prepared from Poly(ethylene-block-ethylene-oxide)-Grafted Carbon Black,” Journal of Applied Polymer Science, vol.77, pp. 24372447, 1999. [2] E. Segal, R. Tchoudakov, M. Narkis , and A. Siegmann, “Sensing of liquids by electrically conductive immiscible polypropylene / thermoplastic polyurethane blends containing carbon black,” Journal of Polymer Science: B, vol.41, pp. 1428–40, 2003.3.0.CO;2-F>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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