With the ability to simulate the response of human skins to outside stimulation,such as force, temperature and humidity, electronic skins have great potential in prosthetics, robotics, wearable devices, medical equipment and other fields. However, the early electronic skins had low resolution, high consumption and low sensitivity, therefore it could not meet the need of modern application. As a result, it is of great importance to explore new sensing mechanisms and improve the detection capabilities of electronic skins. For example, piezoelectric nanogenerators and piezoelectronics show great promise in fields such as mechanical power generation and controlling electron transmission. Piezoelectricity-based and piezoelectronics-based electronic skins have drawn attention for its low power consumption, high sensitivity and quick response.
Recently, the world-famous journal Nano Energy has published a review article titled “Flexible electronic skins based on piezoelectric nanogenerators and piezotronics”, written by joint corresponding authors Professor Rusen Yang andProfessor Yong Qin in the School of Advanced Material and Nontechnology,leading author Hui Yuan, and co-author Prof. Tianmin Lei.
The review article focuses on inorganic piezoelectric materials, piezoelectric polymers and piezoelectric biomaterials. This paper Introduces the concept of piezoelectricity and piezotronics and explains how they can be applied to electronic skins. It summarizes the applications of piezoelectric nanogenerator and piezoelectronics in piezotronic sensors, piezoelectric sensors, multifunctional sensors and sensor arrays, and describes the difficulties and challenges that the field is currently facing with.
The authors proposed possible solutions to some of these issues, such as improving sensitivity, resolution and response speed; achieving multifunctionality in electronic skins, and reducing the manufacturing costs of these materials. They also indicated the future development of ultra-sensitive electronic skin which might even surpass the capabilities of human skin.