Mechanochromic Optical/Electrical Skin for Ultrasensitive Dual-Signal Sensing

Heng Zhang, Haomin Chen, Jeng Hun Lee, Eunyoung Kim, Kit Ying Chan, Harun Venkatesan, Xi Shen, Jinglei Yang, Jang Kyo Kim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Following earlier research efforts dedicated to the realization of multifunctional sensing, recent developments of artificial skins endeavor to go beyond human sensory functions by integrating interactive visualization of strain and pressure stimuli. Inspired by the microcracked structure of spider slit organs and the mechanochromic mechanism of chameleons, this work aims to design a flexible optical/electrical skin (OE-skin) capable of responding to complex stimuli with interactive feedback of human-readable structural colors. The OE-skin consists of an ionic electrode combined with an elastomer dielectric layer, a chromotropic layer containing photonic crystals and a conductive carbon nanotube/MXene layer. The electrode/dielectric layers function as a capacitive pressure sensor. The mechanochromic photonic crystals of ferroferric oxide-carbon magnetic arrays embedded in the gelatin/polyacrylamide stretchable hydrogel film perceive strain and pressure stimuli with bright color switching outputs in the full visible spectrum. The underlying microcracked conductive layer is devoted to ultrasensitive strain sensing with a gauge factor of 191.8. The multilayered OE-skin delivers an ultrafast, accurate response for capacitive pressure sensing with a detection limit of 75 Pa and long-term stability of 5000 cycles, while visualizing complex deformations in the form of high-resolution spatial colors. These findings offer deep insights into the rational design of OE-skins as multifunctional sensing devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5921-5934
Number of pages14
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2023


  • dual-signal
  • interactive sensing
  • mechanochromism
  • stretchable electronics
  • structural color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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