A Sandwiched/Cracked Flexible Film for Multithermal Monitoring and Switching Devices

Yanlong Tai, Tao Chen*, Gilles Lubineau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based flexible films have substantiated advantages in various sensing applications. Here, we demonstrate the highly sensitive and programmable thermal-sensing capability (thermal index, B, up to 126 × 103 K) of flexible films with tunable sandwiched microstructures (PDMS/cracked single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) film/PDMS) when a thermal stimulus is applied. We found that this excellent performance results from the following features of the film's structural and material design: (1) the sandwiched structure allows the film to switch from a three-dimensional to a two-dimensional in-plane deformation and (2) the stiffness of the SWCNT film is decreased by introducing microcracks that make deformation easy and that promote the macroscopic piezoresistive behavior of SWCNT crack islands and the microscopic piezoresistive behavior of SWCNT bundles. The PDMS layer is characterized by a high coefficient of thermal expansion (α = 310 × 10-6 K-1) and low stiffness (∼2 MPa) that allow for greater flexibility and higher temperature sensitivity. We determined the efficacy of our sandwiched, cracked, flexible films in monitoring and switching flexible devices when subjected to various stimuli, including thermal conduction, thermal radiation, and light radiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32184-32191
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 20 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • electronic skin
  • flexible monitoring or switching devices
  • piezoresistive behavior
  • temperature sensing
  • thermal switches
  • tunable cracked microstructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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