When cellulose is soaked in a designed polymer mixture, it acts as a sensor to measure pressure, temperature and humidity simultaneously. There is no dependency of the measurements with each other. The sensor may be highly significant in the streams like healthcare, security and robotics.
In several applications, the ability of measuring pressure, humidity and temperature is important like robotics, monitoring patients at home, electronic skin, functional textiles, surveillance and security, and many more. Research till date, has targeted integrating the different sensors into the same circuit, which has presented several technical challenges, and did not have a major concern for the interface to the user.
Researchers of Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University have successfully combined all the three measurements into a single sensor.
The development of an elastic aerogel of polymers that conducts both ions and electrons, with subsequent exploitation of the thermo-electric effect, has made the research possible. The material in which the electrons move to the warm side of the material from the cold side, is the thermo-electric material. The voltage difference is created in this manner.
It is even possible to measure the temperature changes, as the material is thermo-electric. The larger the temperature difference between the warm and the cold sides, the higher the voltage generated. The moving of ions from the warm side to the cold side rapidly, is affected by the humidity. There is no transportation of the ions if the humidity is zero.