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IISER Researchers from Bhopal have developed organic crystalline materials for highly sensitive pressure sensors

by Riya Mishra

Date & Time: Jan 25, 2023 8:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute


With the development of high-functioning technology systems, research methodologies have got even easier on comparing with the past. This results in getting the outcomes more easily and this has led to advancements in science. One of the recent research findings is that the IISR researchers from Bhopal have helped in the development of organic crystalline materials that can be used for making highly sensitive pressure sensors.

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal researchers have developed a certain type of new, flexible organic crystals that show great potential for use in highly sensitive pressure sensors.

IISER developed these crystals in Bhopal and the understanding of the response of these crystals to mechanical deformation was done in collaboration with highly qualified researchers from the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology. The device that is developed by them was fabricated with this material that shows high levels of sensitivity to pressure when compared to existing materials. This makes it a promising component for the development of the technology for using pressure sensors in the future.

The material that is discovered is found to be environment friendly and this can also be used in the designing of flexible electronic devices that are used in the sectors of healthcare, technology, and so on. The crystal developed by the researchers from IISER Bhopal and the University of Queensland is a new organic crystal of 4-trifluoromethyl phenyl isothiocyanate (4CFNCS) and this chemical is flexible enough to be bent, twisted, and coiled. Professor Deepak Chopra from the Department of Chemistry in IISER 
Bhopal states that the chemical ( Chemical formula: 4CFNCS) was analyzed thoroughly with the use of sophisticated computations and challenging experimental techniques such as synchrotron microfocus X-ray diffraction measurements to understand the reason behind their flexibility. The researchers have discovered the origin of flexibility in this organic crystal and they have also successfully used it to fabricate highly sensitive pressure sensors.

Piezo-resistive or pressure sensors are devices that can respond to pressure or force whenever they are applied to them by a change in their electrical resistance. For example, if piezo-resistive sensors are located behind the touch surface of any touch device, they get activated whenever pressure is applied to the surface during touch. 

This generates a small electrical charge which would be processed further. The research team combined 4CFNCS with an electrically conducting polymer to make the piezo-resistive sensor.

Professor Chopra says that the resultant material that was developed using the researchers exhibited an efficient piezo-resistive response. He also states that at high-pressure ranges, the material results in at least 1.6 times improvement in sensitivity when the pressure range is medium and at least 5 times in the high-pressure range across different ranges of pressures over other known piezo-resistive materials. Dr. Mitradip Bhattacharjee who is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at IISER Bhopal said that these materials can be made without the use of harmful chemicals or high-energy conditions and this makes them better for the environment. He states that apart from the applications of touch screens, such materials are of great use in designing flexible electronic devices for their usage in healthcare, intelligent systems, wearable devices, and self-powered devices.

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