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Embedding piezoelectric nanowires within a soft elastomer material should provide a superior pressure sensing transducer, exploiting the piezoelectric properties of the nanowire material while maintaining flexibility. In this letter, a flexible sensor has been fabricated on a Kapton substrate and has incorporated a layer of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) with embedded zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires as the pressure sensing mechanism. In response to applied compressive pressure up to 127 kPa, the device has generated a voltage, between electrodes on either side of the nanowire/PDMS layer, with a sensitivity of 23.6 mV/kPa, which is 100 times greater than previously reported ZnO nanostructure-based flexible sensors.
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