The scientists are creating new soft, supple and highly durable e-skin. It is able to mimic all the natural functions of human skin. The material that imitates it passed all control tests for strength, tensile and sensitivity. The experts believe it can be used to collect biological data in real time. Electronic skin will play a leading role in prosthetics in the near future. A spokesman for the KAUST medical center that develops the artificial leather, Icheng Tsai, says it will mimic virtually all of the functions of real skin.
It will react to temperature and touch as if it was a real layer of the human epidermis. Now the challenge for the scientists is to create flexible electronics that will be able to perform the most delicate tasks and at the same time withstand the shocks and scratches that occur in everyday life.
Most of the electronic skins used are made by placing a sensor on an elastic surface, and that, in turn, is attached to human skin. But the bond between these layers is not very strong, it reduces the durability of the new material and its sensitivity. Flexibility becomes limited and the likelihood of tearing and cracking increases.
The e-skin is designed using a hydrogel. It is reinforced with special silica nanoparticles, thereby forming a strong and elastic base. According to the scientists, today the field of electronics is actively and effectively integrated with the achievements of bio-medicine.
The advent of 2D sensors made it possible to accelerate the creation of atomically thin and highly durable materials, transforming them into durable and functional artificial leather. The use of a hydrogel made the new development more effective.
Reinforced with nanoparticles of silicon dioxide as a strong and flexible substrate and two-dimensional titanium carbide MXene as a sensitive layer, it is connected by highly conductive nanowires. Due to the fact that the hydrogel is 70% water, it is perfectly compatible with human tissues.