Skin-Inspired Thermometer Enabling Contact-Independent Temperature Sensation via a Seebeck-Resistive Bimodal System

Youngsun Cha, Byungseok Seo, Myoungkil Chung, Brian S.Y. Kim, Wonjoon Choi, Woosung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tactile sensation is a powerful method for probing the temperature of an arbitrary object due to its intuitive operating mechanism. However, the disruptive interface commonly formed between the thermometer and the object gives rise to thermal contact resistance, which is the primary source of measurement inaccuracy. Here, we develop a bioinspired bimodal temperature sensor exhibiting robust measurement accuracy by precisely decoupling contact resistance from the associated thermal circuit. In our sensors, a micropatterned resistive thermometer is placed underneath a thermoelectric heat fluxmeter, which resembles thermoreceptors located in human biomembranes. The object temperature is probed by modulating the thermometer temperature within the sensor system and precisely extrapolating the zero-heat flux point of the Seebeck voltage developed across the fluxmeter. At this zero-heat flux point, the object and thermometer temperatures coincide with each other regardless of the contact resistance formed at the fluxmeter-object interface. An experimental study shows that our sensors display excellent measurement accuracy within ∼0.5 K over a wide range of contact resistance values. Our work opens up new avenues for highly sensitive tactile thermal sensation in thermal haptics, medical devices, and robotics if combined with flexible devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17920-17926
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume14
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr 20

Keywords

  • contact resistance
  • heat flux meter
  • skin-inspired
  • thermoelectric
  • thermometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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