Scientists working at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics (LOE) have developed an ultra-sensitive heat sensor that is transparent, printable, and flexible. It is likely to be applicable in different areas such as wound healing and electronic skin to smart buildings. Various researchers from different universities contributed to the project.
Utilizing Ions in Thermoelectric Material for Wound Healing
Materials used in ultra-sensitive sensors are thermoelectric. Electrons in thermoelectric material move from the cold to warm side when temperature changes on either sides of the material. This leads to a voltage difference. But in this research, scientists engineered a thermoelectric material that makes ions charge carriers in place of electrons. With the ions taking charge carriers, the voltage difference is likely to increase by a hundred times. For example, electrons are capable of developing 100 µV/K (microvolt per Kelvin), whereas ions develop 10 µV/K. This helped in sending 100 times stronger signal even at a small temperature difference.
While taking primary information from previous research, scientists found electrolytes were used for printed electronics. Whereas they have now developed a new material using ions. The ions charge carriers are the first printed thermoelectric module used across the globe. This module consists of linked n- and p-legs that helps in determining the strength of a signal. Moreover, scientists have used screen-printing to produce a highly sensitive heat sensor, depending upon the complementary and different polymers. Heat sensors are capable of converting a minuscule temperature difference in a strong signal.
Furthermore, the material is transparent and soft that makes them applicable on a large surface. It might find use for producing a highly sensitive product. Applications of the heat sensor include temperature exchange in smart buildings and wound healing.