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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2016, Article ID 1736169, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/1736169
Research Article

Integration of a Thin Film PDMS-Based Capacitive Sensor for Tactile Sensing in an Electronic Skin

1Institute for Nanoelectronics, Technical University of Munich, 80333 Munich, Germany
2Physics Department, Faculty of Science, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44516, Egypt
3Institute for Cognitive Systems, Technical University of Munich, 80333 Munich, Germany

Received 5 January 2016; Accepted 23 February 2016

Academic Editor: Eugenio Martinelli

Copyright © 2016 Sara El-Molla et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We present a capacitive force sensor based on a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) film integrated into a printed circuit board (PCB) on a flexible substrate whose layout is defined by inkjet printing. The influence of the dielectric thickness on the sensor behavior is presented. The thinner PDMS film of about 45 μm shows a sensitivity of up to 3 pF/N but poorer dynamic response. The dielectrics with thicknesses above 200 μm show a significantly reduced sensitivity. The best compromise between sensitivity and dynamic response is found for PDMS film of about 100 μm, showing about 1.1 pF/N and less than 15 s of recovery time. This film is integrated into a flexible PCBS including a microcontroller capable of evaluating the sensor. Interconnects of the circuit are defined by silver nanoparticles deposited by inkjet printing. The working principle of the circuit is demonstrated, proving that this simple approach can be used for artificial skin applications.