RSC Adv. 2023 Mar 13;13(12):8202-8219. doi: 10.1039/d3ra00584d. eCollection 2023 Mar 8.
The field of strain sensing involves the ability to measure an electrical response that corresponds to a strain. The integration of synthetic and conducting polymers can create a flexible strain sensor with a wide range of applications, including soft robotics, sport performance monitoring, gaming and virtual reality, and healthcare and biomedical engineering. However, the use of insulating synthetic polymers can impede the semiconducting properties of sensors, which may reduce sensor sensitivity. Previous research has shown that the doping process can significantly enhance the electrical performance and ionic conduction of conducting polymers, thereby strengthening their potential for use in electronic devices. However the full effects of secondary doping on the crystallinity, stretchability, conductivity, and sensitivity of conducting polymer blends have not been studied. In this study, we investigated the effects of secondary doping on the properties of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate)/poly(vinyl alcohol) (PEDOT:PSS/PVA) polymer blend thin films and their potential use as strain sensors. The thin films were prepared using a facile drop-casting method. Morphology analysis using profilometry and atomic force microscopy confirmed the occurrence of phase segregation and revealed surface roughness values. This evidence provided a comprehensive understanding of the chemical interactions and physical properties of the thin films, and the effects of doping on these properties. The best films were selected and applied as sensitive strain sensors. EG-PEDOT:PSS/PVA thin films showing a significant increase of conductivity values from the addition of 1 vol% to 12 vol% addition, with conductivity values of 8.51 × 10-5 to 9.42 × 10-3 S cm-1. Our 12% EG-PEDOT:PSS/PVA sensors had the highest GF value of 2000 too. We compared our results with previous studies on polymeric sensors, and it was found that our sensors quantitatively had better GF values. Illustration that demonstrates the DMSO and EG dopant effects on PEDOT:PSS structure through bonding interaction, crystallinity, thermal stability, surface roughness, conductivity and stretchability was also provided. This study suggests a new aspect of doping interaction that can enhance the conductivity and sensitivity of PEDOT:PSS for device applications.
PMID:36922951 | PMC:PMC10009655 | DOI:10.1039/d3ra00584d