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Analyzing the Development of Hydrogel Sensors

A new review written by Dr. Weixing Song from the Department of Chemistry at Capital Normal University explores the latest developments in hydrogel sensors. 

Analyzing the Development Status of Hydrogel Sensors and Highlighted Strategies

An overview of recent advancements in wearable hydrogel sensors is presented, encompassing their composition, mechanisms, design strategies, and future development prospects. Image Credit: ©Science China Press

The study helped review the conductive network and toughness of present hydrogel sensors. It highlighted several hydrogel sensors' development status and stressed strategies to improve their electrical and mechanical performance. The study outcomes are useful for developing components and structures of high-performance wearable hydrogel sensors.

The huge demand for healthcare IoT devices urges the development of wearable electronics. Electronic skins hold stretchability, softness, and self-healing properties, thereby making them suitable for several applications.

Hydrogels, having properties similar to human skin, have gained a lot of attention as a result of their flexibility and potential to detect deformations precisely. Also, hydrogels have the potential to repair themselves via several reactions, thereby providing great potential for the development of hydrogel-based sensors.

The 3D network of hydrogels integrates solid-like properties with effective substance transport via aqueous phases. Toughened hydrogels, such as hydrophobic associated, double-network, and composite hydrogels, are reinforced via physical or chemical cross-linking, thereby leading to high toughness and ductility.

This makes them ideal for integration into electronic devices that could conform to the stretching of human joints or skin. Integrating electronic conductors or ions into hydrogels develops conductive hydrogels, improving conductivity and adding up to the matrix network structure. The elastic matrix and conductive component are considered to be necessary for conductive hydrogels.

This study concludes the progress of hydrogel sensors and indicates vital scientific and technical worries that need additional investigation.

The study contends that an optimal hydrogel sensor must display flexibility in tough surroundings, exhibit outstanding moisture and expansion resistance, illustrate compatibility with human skin, and display unique electrical and mechanical properties.

Moreover, it must have the potential of intelligent data processing to meet the demands of daily life. Despite the advancements made, existing hydrogel sensors face difficulties and necessitate ongoing research and development to obtain successful integration, packaging, and other necessary technologies.

This review highlights the methods that have been targeted at improving the electrical and mechanical capabilities of hydrogel sensors to fulfill the future needs of wearable devices.

Such advancements hold the ability to extend the horizons of virtual reality, intelligent health monitoring, and artificial intelligence and add up to the advancement of human-computer interaction and artificial limbs.

Journal Reference

Zhu, J., et al. (2023) Pathways toward wearable and high-performance sensors based on hydrogels: toughening networks and conductive networks. National Science Review.

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