Carbon Nanofiber versus Graphene-Based Stretchable Capacitive Touch Sensors for Artificial Electronic Skin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Authors:
  • Pietro Cataldi
  • Simeone Dussoni
  • Luca Ceseracciu
  • Marco Maggiali
  • Lorenzo Natale
  • And 3 others
  • External authors:
  • Giorgio Metta
  • Athanassia Athanassiou
  • Ilker S. Bayer


Stretchable capacitive devices are instrumental for new‐generation multifunctional haptic technologies particularly suited for soft robotics and electronic skin applications. A majority of elongating soft electronics still rely on silicone for building devices or sensors by multiple‐step replication. In this study, fabrication of a reliable elongating parallel‐plate capacitive touch sensor, using nitrile rubber gloves as templates, is demonstrated. Spray coating both sides of a rubber piece cut out of a glove with a conductive polymer suspension carrying dispersed carbon nanofibers (CnFs) or graphene nanoplatelets (GnPs) is sufficient for making electrodes with low sheet resistance values (≈10 Ω sq−1). The electrodes based on CnFs maintain their conductivity up to 100% elongation whereas the GnPs‐based ones form cracks before 60% elongation. However, both electrodes are reliable under elongation levels associated with human joints motility (≈20%). Strikingly, structural damages due to repeated elongation/recovery cycles could be healed through annealing. Haptic sensing characteristics of a stretchable capacitive device by wrapping it around the fingertip of a robotic hand (ICub) are demonstrated. Tactile forces as low as 0.03 N and as high as 5 N can be easily sensed by the device under elongation or over curvilinear surfaces.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced Science
Early online date27 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017