Laser direct write (LDW) technologies open up a new avenue for fabrication of strain sensors in flexible substrates, which are recently attracting a great deal of attention owing to their potential applications including electronic skins, smart textiles, health monitors, etc. LDW enables spatially-selective control of material properties or structures with high resolution on both the surface and the volume with fewer process steps. Hayashi and co-workers took advantage of the versatility of LDW to directly modify polymeric substrates to patterned conductive structures for fabrication of the flexible strain sensors. Specifically, they formed electrically conductive silicon carbide layers in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates by LDW using a femtosecond laser. The fabricated structures showed changes in electrical conductance depending on bending angles. Additionally, they revealed that the change in magnitude of electrical conductance resulting from applied strain depended on the laser scanning direction used for the LDW, indicating sensitivity to the direction of applied strain. Thus, the flexible sensors fabricated by LDW with tuned laser scanning directions and proper device designs offer the capability of multi-directional sensing of strain.
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