Super-soft solvent-free bottlebrush elastomers for touch sensing

Veronica G. Reynolds, Sanjoy Mukherjee, Renxuan Xie, Adam E. Levi, Amalie Atassi, Takumi Uchiyama, Hengbin Wang, Michael L. Chabinyc, Christopher M. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The sensitivity of capacitive pressure sensors is primarily determined by the modulus of a soft dielectric layer that reversibly deforms to produce an electrical signal. Unfortunately, the mechanical properties of conventional linear networks are constrained such that a lower limit on softness translates to poor capacitive pressure sensor performance. Here, we overcome this paradigm by leveraging the intrinsic "super-soft" characteristic of bottlebrush polymers. A simple light-induced crosslinking strategy is introduced to facilitate device fabrication and parallel plate capacitive pressure sensors constructed with these bottlebrush polymer networks exhibit up to a 53× increase in sensitivity compared to traditional material formulations, e.g., Sylgard 184. This combination of contemporary synthetic chemistry and application-driven materials design accentuates the opportunities available at the intersection of science and engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Horizons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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