Collection of Flexible Materials(202312)
Wearable instruments are functional devices that can be worn on human body, sensing, transmitting and processing body or environmental information in real time, and show broad application prospects in medical health, especially artificial intelligence, sports and entertainment. With the development of wearable instruments, various flexible sensors have emerged. Flexible mechanical sensors based on piezoelectric effect have attracted much attention because of their advantages of wide sensing frequency, fast response, good linearity, and self-power supply. However, traditional piezoelectric materials are mostly brittle ceramics and crystalline materials, which limit their application in flexible devices. With the deepening of research, more and more flexible piezoelectric materials and piezoelectric composites continue to emerge, injecting new development vitality into flexible wearable mechanical devices. This article mainly summarizes the cutting-edge progress of flexible wearable piezoelectric devices, including piezoelectric principle, preparation and performance improvement methods of flexible piezoelectric materials. In addition, the main application directions of flexible wearable piezoelectric devices, including medical health and human-computer interaction, as well as the challenges and opportunities encountered, are summarized.
The exploration of flexible electronic devices with information processing functions of biological neurons is of great significance for the development of intelligent wearable technologies. Due to lack of inherent mechanical flexibility, conventional threshold-switching memristor based on rigid materials that can implement the computing functions of biological neurons is difficult to fulfill the requirements for potential applications in the future. In this work, an intrinsically stretchable threshold-switching memristor was prepared by using silver nanowire-polyurethane composite as the dielectric layer and liquid metal as the electrodes, respectively. Under application of a sweeping voltage, the device exhibited reliable threshold switching characteristics, which was switched from the high resistance state (HRS) to the low resistance state (LRS) during device programming and spontaneously relaxed to the HRS upon voltage application. Further analysis shows that the underlying mechanism can be attributed to the dynamic formation and rupture of discontinuous silver conductive filaments formed between silver nanowires. In the pulse programming mode, memristor device is able to emulate the integration and firing characteristics of biological neurons, suggesting its great potential as an artificial neuron. Moreover, the pulse amplitude and pulse interval modulated neuronal spiking behaviors are successfully replicated using such devices. Under 20% tensile strain, the threshold-switching memristor shows negligible changes in the operating parameters during device switching and neuronal function implementations, suggesting its excellent mechanical flexibility and stability. This work provides important guidelines for the development of high-performance stretchable artificial neuronal devices and next-generation intelligent wearable systems.
In recent years, inspired by the unique operation mode of the human brain, emulation of the perception and computing functions of synapses and neurons by artificial neuromorphic devices has attracted more and more attention. So far, many researches have been reported about neuromorphic transistors (NMT), but most devices are fabricated on rigid substrates. The flexible neuromorphic transistors can not only realize signal transmission and training learning at the same time, but also carry out nonlinear spatio-temporal integration and cooperative regulation of multiple signals. It can also closely fit the soft human skin and withstand the high physiological strain of organs and tissues. More importantly, flexible neuromorphic transistors have unique advantages and application potential in detecting low amplitude signals at physiologically relevant time scales in biological environments due to their designable flexibility and excellent biocompatibility. Flexible neuromorphic transistors have been widely used in electronic skin, artificial vision system, intelligent wearable system, and other fields. At present, it is one of the most important tasks to develop low-power consumption, high-density integrated flexible neuromorphic transistors. In this paper, the research progress of NMT based on different flexible substrates is reviewed. In addition, the bright application prospect of flexible neuromorphic transistors is prospected. This review provides a reference for the development and application of flexible neuromorphic transistors in the future.
Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) with structure of TiO2/ZrO2/carbon triple-layer are attractive recently because of their inexpensive raw materials, scalable fabrication process, and outstanding stability. But little progress has been made in the low temperature fabrication of TiO2/ZrO2/carbon triple-layer structured PSCs. A major reason is that it is rather difficult to construct the ZrO2 spacer layer at low temperature. Herein, we report a facile low-temperature spray-coating method to prepare effective ZrO2 spacer layer in TiO2/ZrO2/carbon triple-layer PSCs using urea to tune the porosity. After optimizing the amount of urea and the thickness of zirconia to 1100 nm, power conversion efficiencies (PCE) of 14.7% for a single cell and 10.8% for a module with 5 cells connected in series (5×0.9 cm× 2.5 cm) were achieved. Furthermore, the PSCs could be stable for 200 d at constant temperature (25 ℃) and humidity (40%). With this spray coating method, the zirconia layer on flexible substrate can endure 50 times of bending without any cracking. Compared to the conventional screen-printing method of ZrO2 spacer layer, the spray-coating alternative developed in this work shows advantages of more convenient to process, preparation under lower temperature, and compatibility to flexible substrate.
Compared with other electric energy storage devices, dielectric capacitors made of dielectric composites have great advantages in fast charging and discharging capacity with high power density. A dilemma of improving the energy density of dielectric composites and synchronous optimizing their breakdown performance is becoming an intriguing research direction. To further adjust the contradiction between dielectric constant and dielectric breakdown performance, here a finite element numerical simulation based on dielectric breakdown model (DBM) was proposed to study the effect of the distribution of inorganic fillers on the electric field and breakdown damage morphology in flexible polydimethylsiloxane(PDMS) based dielectric composite system. The results show that a large dielectric difference is observed between filler and matrix, which indicates that polymer matrix with a large dielectric constant or inorganic filler with a small dielectric constant can realize reducing the size of the high electric field area at the interface and improving the breakdown resistance of the material. This study further reveals that the more dispersed structure of inorganic fillers, the more likely its dendritic damage channels tend to branch, indicating that this situation is conducive to the increase of damage sites of dielectric breakdown dendritic damage channels, the decrease of damage rate, and the improvement of breakdown resistance of materials. All above data demonstrate that this study provides certain guidance for the development of organic-inorganic dielectric composites with both high energy storage and excellent breakdown performance.
The gas diffusion layer (GDL) is a critical component of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and accounts for 40%-50% of the fuel cell membrane's cost. Developing a low-cost and high-performance GDL is imperative to advance the commercialization of PEMFCs. In this study, we generated a flexible carbon cloth with high electrical conductivity and porosity from cellulose cloth at a low temperature (1500 ℃). The carbon cloth is composed of micron-sized carbon fibers with a porosity of up to 76.93%. Through catalytic graphitization of iron-based compounds, massive carbon nanotube clusters were formed in situ on the surface of carbon fibers, which effectively enhanced the electrical conductivity of the carbon cloth. The in-plane resistance was as low as 34 mΩ·cm while the through-plane resistance was 2.8 mΩ·cm under a pressure of 2 MPa, meeting the performance standard of commercial carbon cloth. Furthermore, the PEMFC with the prepared carbon cloth as GDLs exhibits a power density of 0.4 W·cm-2 at current density of 0.7 A·cm-2, exceeding the device with commercial carbon cloth (0.34 W·cm-2 at 0.7 A·cm-2). This study demonstrates that the prepared biomass-derived carbon cloth with low-cost and high- performance holds great potential for advanced GDLs for PEMFCs.
MgAgSb is a promising room temperature thermoelectric material with relatively abundant element reserves for the construction of high-performance wearable thermoelectric batteries. In this study, Mg-Ag-Sb thin films were prepared on polyimide (PI) substrates by using magnetron sputtering, and the effects of annealing conditions on their thermoelectric properties were systematically investigated. The results showed that the MgAgSb flexible thermoelectric film composed of MgO, Ag3Sb and Sb2O4 multiphases instead of pure phase, in which Ag3Sb played main role of thermoelectric function. Different annealing atmospheres significantly improved the thermoelectric properties of MgO-Ag3Sb-Sb2O4 (Mg-Ag-Sb) flexible thin films, among which the vacuum treatment appeared the best performance. Under vacuum conditions, the thermoelectric properties firstly increased and then decreased with the annealing temperature increasing, and the best thermoelectric property was achieved when the annealing temperature was 573 K, with a power factor of 74.16 μW∙m-1∙K-2 near room temperature. Moreover, the film exhibited good flexibility, and the conductivity changed by only 14% after 900 bending times. This study provides a reference for the preparation of MgAgSb flexible thermoelectric films and their wearable applications.
Silica aerogels have wide application prospect in high temperature heat insulation due to their low density and high porosity. However, the brittleness and high cost of supercritical drying restrict their application. In this study, spongy silicone aerogels with high flexibility were prepared via Sol-Gel polymerization and atmospheric pressure drying using vinyltrimethoxysilane (VTMS) and vinylmethyldimethoxysilane (VMDMS) as precursors. The effects of precursor molar ratio on the microstructure and compressive resilience of aerogels, as well as the inorganic transformation process of aerogels in high temperature aerobic and anaerobic environments were studied. The results show that with the increase of VTMS/VMDMS ratio in the precursor, the aerogel particles become smaller and more tightly packed, and the compression resilience of aerogels also decreased. In air at 800 ℃, aerogels were transformed into inorganic SiO2 by oxidation of organic side groups, fracture and rearrangement of main chain Si-O-Si. In N2 at 800 ℃, aerogels were transformed into the mixture of inorganic SiO2 and free carbon by pyrolysis reaction, and after further treatment at 1000-1400 ℃, SiO2 and free carbon were subjected to carbothermal reduction reaction to form amorphous Si-O-C structures such as SiO4, SiCO3, SiC2O2, and SiC3O, and a small amount of β-SiC nanowires. The Si-O-C structure formed by carbothermal reduction reaction at 1200 ℃ has optimal high temperature oxidation resistance, which can provide reference for the preparation of pyro-oxidation resistant Si-O-C aerogels.
Ceramic fibers are the vital high-temperature thermal insulating materials due to their excellent mechanical property, high-temperature stability and thermal shock resistance. However, practical application of traditional ceramic fiber membranes in the field of thermal insulation are greatly limited by their high thermal conductivities at high-temperatures. In this work, SiZrOC nanofiber membranes with high infrared shielding performance were prepared by electrospinning technique. The SiZrOC nanofibers were composed of SiO2, ZrO2, SiOC, and free carbon phase with average diameter of (511±108) nm. The SiZrOC nanofiber membranes exhibited possess excellent high-temperature thermal insulation performance. Thermal conductivity of SiZrOC nanofiber membranes at 1000 ℃ reached 0.127 W·m-1·K-1, obviously lower than that of other traditional ceramic fibers. In addition, the as-prepared SiZrOC nanofiber membranes exhibited high strength, good flexibility and excellent high-temperature stability, so they had great potential for high-temperature thermal insulation. Therefore, preparation strategy of SiZrOC nanofiber membranes also provides a new route for designing other high-performance thermal insulators.